This challenge invites students to consider the positive attributes of their school (or class) as they create a school (or class) mascot. Introduce the term "mascot" by bringing in examplesstuffed or pictures(e.g., Harvey the Hound, Bon Homme, Ronald McDonald) or by inviting a mascot from a local or professional sports team or business to the class. Explain that mascots are carefully chosen to help people recognize the team or company so each team or business wants a unique mascotone that no other team or business will use. Point out that features of the mascot represent qualities of the team or business (e.g, a wolf is a fast runner and hunts in packs so a team might choose a wolf for a mascot if they want other people to think they are a fast team that works together). Invite students to guess what the "sample" mascots represent and what their features tell about the qualities of the team or company.
Invite students to design a mascot for the school or for their class, if the school already has one. Ask students to consider what makes their school special. If necessary, create a chart with the following headings to help scaffold their thinking: "People", "Places", "Things" and "Activities". Refine the list to characteristics that are important but unique to the school (e.g., caring, exciting, lots of options for students). As a class, brainstorm various animals or story characters with similar features. Ask students to provide explanations for their choices. Provide an example such as the following:
"An octopus would be a good school mascot because it has eight arms that can give lots of hugs. Its arms can hold onto different things for it's young to play with. It would be exciting to play tag with an octopus."
Draw the links between the features of the school and the characteristics of the mascot. Once the list is complete, present the criteria for a suitable mascot (e.g., mascot features match all of the characteristics of the school, a positive role-model, is unique). Arrange for students to work in small groups to create a mascot that will best represent the school. You may wish to have students create paper maché, 3-D, fabric, line-drawing or painted mascots.
As an extension, invite students to vote on the mascot that best represents the school. You may wish to use the following sentence frame to help students justify their selection: "___________ would make the best school mascot because it __________, __________, and __________." You may wish to adapt the one of the charts and strategies in Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.