Tarzan first swung onto the scene in 1912. Edgar Rice Burroughs initially published Tarzan of the Apes as a series of chapters in several issues of All-Story Magazine. The chapters were so popular they were assembled and published as a book in 1914. Following the publication of the book Tarzan’s popularity grew so much, it led to numerous sequels. The original story and the sequels were further adapted for film and television. In 1999, Walt Disney Studios released Tarzan, an animated adaptation. Tarzan the Musical is adapted from that Disney film.
This Study Companion provides opportunities to reflect on the story of Tarzan from many different angles. Tarzan in the Jungle:
Plants and Biomes begins with a discussion of Waiting for This Moment (the song that introduces the character of Jane in Tarzan the Musical ) and guides students as they learn the names of the plants in the song, review where these plants come from, learn about biomes in different parts of the world, review longitude and latitude in map-reading and then create a map that includes plants they have studied. Comparing the Past and the Present: Tarzan in the Jungle investigates a writer’s point of view: how stories change over time and how stories reflect the opinions, views, expectations and truths that are woven into the fabric of the culture the story comes from. The Geometry of Flight, Tarzan and Leonardo da Vinci explores the lines and angels of flight trajectory. The JPAS production of Tarzan involves lots of flying, sometimes, flying 8 performers at a time. Flight entails lift and drag, friction and flow—all three of Newton’s Laws of Motion. What is less commonly understood is that flight also involves shapes (geometry.) In preschool, students learn about shapes. They learn how to identify them by appearance. As an example, a shape made of straight lines with four equal sides is a square, a shape made of three straight lines is a triangle, a shape made of curved lines is a circle and so forth. In this lesson, students will expand on their understanding of shapes by exploring them through the lens of actors’ movement on stage (theatrical flying.) Students will have opportunities to consider the way an actor moves on stage when they are flying (the actor’s flight trajectory) by describing a series of angles and by using straight angles, reflex angles, angles around a point. Tarzan Jungle Parkour: Guiding Tarzan Through the Jungle investigates another way the story of Tarzan has been adapted, action figures and games. Students will review game board designs from the 1950’s that were inspired by the story of Tarzan, look at imagery from a modern day Minecraft Tarzan Parkour, an on-line game that is a randomly generated parkour course that can be played with friends or alone, and will work to develop their own Tarzan parkour. To do this, they will explore math concepts (Cartesian Coordinates, perimeter and area) as they design the safest route for Tarzan to navigate the jungle.
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