Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Assembly Idea
There is one main idea to suggest for a Rats of NIMH Assembly. It has been done at a few schools and is always a massive hit. The idea is to create a small maze on stage – visible to the entire gathered student audience – and then ask a handful of students to negotiate the maze while being publicly timed.
Essential to the effectiveness of this idea (as w/ most assemblies) is not to explain what it’s up there for. Students who know nothing about Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH will have to wait until deep into the book to discover what the maze has to do w/ the story.
All you need to create this maze is some of those children’s tunnels – the ones w/ fabric and a large coiled spring. They often come in gauzy translucent materials so everyone can see through them. Some families w/ small children also have elaborate gauzy “houses” or tents that can be set up in the home and then broken down and stored easily. Some kindergarten classrooms may even have some of these items. 2 or 3 of these translucent “structures” can be assimilated into the maze to give it brief complexity.
But the whole idea of the maze works because it is so clearly – and curiously, conspicuously – visible on stage.
One way to execute this idea is to call three students forward from the audience. Make a big show of timing each of these students – one at a time – trying to negotiate the maze – trying to find a pack of gum (say) hidden at the end of the maze. The maze won’t be very big so it won’t take each of them much more than a minute to find their way. Then, hide the gum in the exact same place, and ask each of the students to run the maze again. Invariably, each of them will go straight for the gum and beat their previous time.
All you do is announce the six successive times, and congratulate each student on “beating” his/her first time. Virtually all the students (and some of the teachers) will want to run the maze once they see it on stage. It will be a somewhat raucous assembly as students cheer for the student/rats to find the gum. But that, of course, it not the real point of the assembly.
The real point is to make them want go home and dive in (w/ their families) and find out what in the world the maze on stage could have to do w/ Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.