The marionettes I was making didn't quite pan out. The Model Magic bat wasn't quite flexible enough. I found a bat marionette online and ordered it. The "Boingy Bat" arrived on Thursday, about an hour before my first session. It's fun, but more of a chachka than an actual usable marionette. Still, in a pinch it works to explain about marionettes in the context of other puppets.
Here are the other bats I've been using. The little black finger puppet is great for showing the bat's structure--those looong fingers that make up the ribs on the wings are very cool!
Prince (formerly known as Frog), Trixie and the Baby are all part of these sessions. One point I've been making is that puppets have distinct characters and voices. I illustrate this by switching the voices around, for example giving the Baby Trixie's voice. Weird!
Before I bring the baby out, I tell the kids I'm going to show them the biggest predator of bats. Then I bring the baby out. What? A baby?! I explain that of course not when she's a baby, but that human beings destroy bat habitat (say that five times fast), and other habitats as well.
I'll meet with these six groups again after they've visited the Baker Wetlands. They already know and understand a lot about the environment. We'll see how it expands in the second session.