The Present

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Area: Film, Literature/Language Arts, Other Areas
Grade Level: Middle School, Primary/Elementary School
Topics: Disability, Epistemology, ethics, gratitude, play, reasoning, Social Perception
Estimated Time Necessary: 45 minutes

Lesson Plan

Students watch a video clip which challenges their assumptions
Thinking about play.
Students can reflect on play and what role it plays in human's and animals' lives.
Reflecting on disability
The film raises many interesting questions about disability and difference.

This lesson can be used either in a classroom or online.

Plot Summary: In this short film, a child is sitting inside on a sunny day playing video games. Their mother comes home with a box and suggests they stop playing video games and open the present. Inside the box is a wiggly, excited, and happy puppy who the child discovers is missing part of one leg. Angry and disgusted, they toss the puppy aside and return to gaming. The puppy is unrelenting in trying to get the child to play. Begrudgingly, the child kicks a ball to the puppy a few times and eventually succumbs to the puppy’s cute, playful energy. Rising from the couch, the child heads outside on crutches with the puppy to enjoy outdoor play time. We see that the child, too, is missing part of one leg.

After students watch the clip, use the discussion questions to engage in a group discussion.



Discussion Questions

  • What assumptions did you make about why the child was angry about the puppy missing one leg? Were those assumptions correct?
  • Does learning that the child also has a missing leg change what you think of him? Why?
  • The child is playing video games and the puppy is playing fetch. What is the role of play in humans’ and animals’ lives? Is play important? Why or why not?
  • Do we have to feel grateful for presents we do not like?
  • Can something be good for us even if we do not want it? Can you think of something that has helped you learn or grow but that you did not want?

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