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How Bear Lost
Its Tail

Build literacy skills with this fun role play activity! Students read a play script and answer key questions with followup activities


Grade Level: 3-6

MaterialsPrintable Student Handout Script


More Resources

For another Native American bear legend, visit Chipmunk and Bear, in which a small but clever chipmunk shows how humility and quick thinking can overcome the strength and brawn of large, bossy bear.

Story Preview: Long ago, bears in the forest had long black furry tails. One day, a bear bumps into a wily fox with a sick sense of humor. The result is a new look for bears.

Roles: Narrator 1, Narrator 2, Narrator 3, Narrator 4, Narrator 5, Fox, Bear

Setting: A forest long ago

Theme: Legend


  • shallow: not very deep
  • stump: a small part left after the rest is removed
  • strut: to walk proudly

Props: (optional) long piece of butcher paper to create a lake with a cut-out hole; paper fox ears; paper bear ears

Follow-Up Questions:

  • Who thought his long tail was awesome?
  • How did Fox say he caught the fish?
  • What was the real reason Fox told bear he would watch from the trees?"
  • What did Bear mean when he said, Ill turn you into stew?"
  • What did you learn from this story?

Follow-Up Activity: Let students imagine what it might be like to have a long tail and what it might be like to have a short tail. Ask: What are the benefits of each? Organize student responses on a T chart, using headings: Long, Short. Students then can choose the most interesting response to illustrate and write about in sentence form. Example: "I would like to have a ___tail so I could ___________."

Article by Susan LaBella
Education World®
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