Classroom Resources

Play: The Big Turnip

This play, based on a Russian folktale, comes from a collection of plays and skits created by the ACT Japanese teachers’ group for use in their primary and junior secondary classrooms. Students work cooperatively in groups or as a class to prepare and perform the play for their classmates or at a school event.

Level: Primary, Junior_Secondary

Story Outline

This story is a traditional folk tale believed to have come from Russia. An old man is working in the field and he finds a huge turnip. He summons all the members of his family to help him pull out the turnip. The family all cooperated with the help of some animal friends.


おじいさん=old man
おばあさん=old woman


Cultural Notes

In the original Russian story, words are repeated to make a rhythm that is almost a tongue-twister. In this translated version we have tried to repeat the same words as often as possible to give a similar effect. (See web link below for the Russian tongue twister.) And this story is famous in Japan as Ookina Kabu.

Language Concepts

  • ~mashita
  • onomatopoeia - chuu chuu, nyaa nyaa, wan wan
  • counting
  • ~te form
  • ~te mashoo