Giselle is a girl with “weak constitution” (meaning she gets sick very easily) who lives in the Rhineland. The Rhineland is a very green part of Germany. You can see Germany in red on the world map here:
Science: The Rhineland
This a map of The Rhineland. Do you see the thick blue line on this map?
The Rhineland is a part of Germany around the Rhine river. Like any place around a river, lots of plants grow nearby. The area is known for vineyards (fields of grapes), and the famous Palatine Forest. The Willis (who are make believe) are supposed to live in the Palantine Forest. You can imagine how thick the trees there must be, and how dark the forest is! Here is a little travelogue video with about the forest. It’s lovely but what I’d like you to notice how OLD everything in this area is, and old areas often have old buildings. In this video they say the Forest had something like 500 castles!
The castles and big fancy houses are usually on the top of the hills and the villages are down below near the water and in the valleys. This is a neat illustration I found of a view of a castle, or a big house, from the valley. You can imagine Albrecht and his fiance walking down the hill to Giselle’s tavern!
The Rhineland has a “Wine Walk” which is so called because the area had vineyards and those vineyards grew the grapes they’d make into wine. They’ve been doing this for centuries! Imagine: Giselle’s tavern could have been a house on what we now call the wine walk!
Technology: Timber Frame Houses
Do you notice anything special about these houses? They have wood beams on the outside making beautiful patterns around the windows and walls of the house! These are Timber Framed Houses and they are all over Europe, but especially in Germany. People could make these houses for themselves and, if they made the frames strong enough, they could take the house apart wall by wall and carry the walls to their new home location and just rebuild the walls somewhere new!
Engineering: Paper House
There are so many methods of making houses from paper, but the reason making a paper Timber Frame house is smart is that the principle of building whole, movable walls matches the principle of making walls from paper and folding them to build a 3D building! I might also mention that this project matches the principle of Gingerbread House building, and so is a wintry type of activity. See this darling blog, for a very DIY how-to. The basics are simple.
Paper House making is a craft people love so much they do it into their adulthood and as a result lots of templates for real-world houses exist. This Templom House Cut-Out Template looks quite hard to build because of it’s careful details! While this Model Villa is probably good for my clever dancers!
Click on the picture to download the 6 page description–or just follow the picture you see on the first page:-)
Giselle is a romantic tragedy, but when I tell the story I don’t focus on those elements. It’s a “white ballet,” so called because it features a corps de ballet (rows of ballerinas) wearing white tutus and the sad mood is really felt with these tutus in the “woods,” so I’ve put together a little slideshow of Willis.
Math: Centuries & Daisy Petals
Giselle takes place in the middle ages. The middle ages happened between the 5th century (400-499) and the 15th century (1400-1499). That’s 1,000 years we think passed without many changes or new technologies.
We are in the year 2020, which we call the 21st Century. I know it seems like we should call it the 20th century. It works like this: The first century was 1-99. The second century was 100-199. The third century was 200-299. And on and on!
When Albrecht says he likes Giselle, she picks a daisy and plays “he loves me, he loves me not.” This is an old game of “chance.” The idea is that if someone you liked also liked you in return, you’d pick a daisy that could tell you that. But there isn’t too much magic to this game (it is a game, and not really a way to learn if someone likes you:-) It’s a simple example of EVEN AND ODD NUMBERS. Have you learned about these in school, yet? You usually hear about it in first or second grade.
If a daisy has an ODD NUMBER of petals then, when you play “he loves me, he loves me not” you’ll end on “he loves me.” But, if the daisy has an EVEN NUMBER of petals, you’ll end on “he loves me not.” So if you had the ability to count the petals before you played “he loves me, he loves me not” you’d know the answer before you began! I guess you can only really count the petals on a daisy if you’re drawing it yourself:-)