The Four Natural Elements of LifeEarth, Air, Fire, Water By: Amanda Burleson
Understanding the Importance of the Four Elements of Life Ancient peoples had a deep connection with fire, earth, air, and water. “It is often said that all things including human beings themselves, were created by combining fire, earth, air, and water. So, in a very real sense, those elements are related to us. Just as we all have four grandparents, and our lives come from their lives, so we might describe fire and earth, water and air as our four ancestors.” -Four Ancestors/Joseph Bruchac
Getting a Deeper Understanding of the Elements In order for students to have the most valuable learning experience possible and to be able to understand the elements included in the folk tales and poems, I want them to find synonyms and the etymologies for each element.
Folk tales • Fairy Tales • Cumulative Tales • Myths • Trickster Tales • Fables • Pour quoi Tales • Legends • Hero Tales
Poetry • Go Inside Poem • 2 Haikus • Poem for Two Voices • 2 Concrete Poems • Animal Poem • Favorite Place Poem (all poems must contain at least one of the four elements of life)
Web-Sites • http://salemos.tripod.com/index-81.html This web site provides information on all four of the elements of life and the importance of these elements to ancient people. • http://valarguild.org/varda/Tolkien/encyc/papers/elements.html A web site that explains the symbolism of the elements in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels. • http://www.mythinglinks.org/ct~FourElements.html A resource for teaching folklore, mythology, and the arts. This web site contains a special section for primary and secondary teachers and includes other links to information like teaching tolerance in conjunction with studying the beliefs of other cultures. • http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/AGEDE/Intro.html Another web site that provides information on the four elements and their importance to ancient people and their way of life. • http://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/RainbowCrow/games.htm A web site that includes activities to go along with Rainbow Crow, a folktale about how fire came into existence. • http://www.iss.k12.nc.us/schools/sms/pklaene/haiku.html A haiku web quest which includes all four elements. This web quest is designed for seventh grade but may be easily adapted to meet the needs of children in grades 3-5. • http://www.donaldboyes.com/learn-to-read-scripts/battle.htm This web site contains a short play about the folktale, The Battle of the Wind and the Rain. • http://www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/north.html A great web site for anyone who is teaching storytelling and folktales. This web site contains lesson plans and great links too!