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The How and Why of Everything

Last changed: 05/01/2018 12:26pm
K , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8
Theatre Science English
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min


Five, 45-minute sessions with a Sharing (no additional production elements required) or other culminating project for individual classes or entire grade level during the fifth session.

The length of each session can be extended to accommodate a middle school schedule.

Classes are typically held once a week. However, at the discretion of the teacher(s) the program may be completed in 1 or 2 weeks or spread out further to allow time for completion of classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher(s).

The program can be designed and scheduled to introduce, integrate throughout or serve as a follow-up to the selected curricular unit.

*If the school calendar does not allow for 5 visits, the Teaching Artist can provide an adjusted version of the residency with 3 or 4 sessions.
In-School Short Term Residency
All Year
$10 0
yes In-Person


Props needed for Drama activities to supplement available classroom resources

Originals for handouts or prompts for activities during class or to be conducted by the Classroom Teacher(s) to deepen student learning between sessions

Additional reference materials on selected topic


Easel and large pad of paper, if available

Copies of handouts for students as needed

Copies of key reference materials/resources from the classroom for the specific content selected to help the Teaching Artist support the Classroom Teacher's approach and priorities.


Open space in classroom or multi-purpose space large enough for entire class to participate on their feet simultaneously or spread out to work in small groups.

If selecting a Sharing for the entire grade, will need a large enough space for all classes to meet together to present and view. Could be a stage, but not required. Should be scheduled for each class individually in session 4 and for the entire grade for session 5.


I can understand scientific concepts by exploring characteristics of shapes (abstract and realistic) and qualities of movement such as speed, weight and energy.

I can use size and shape to demonstrate an element, structure or organism from a particular scientific topic such as habitats.

I can use movement qualities (rate, weight, energy) to demonstrate a scientific process or procedure, such as laws of motion.

I can work with partners to use shapes/movements to create sequences that show stages of a cycle, interactions in an environment or steps in how a system works.

I can clearly describe or explain a particular scientific phenomenon that has been demonstrated using shapes and movement.



Students are often challenged by abstract scientific concepts. In the How and Why of Everything, acting and movement exercises tap into natural curiosity to effectively make the intangible, tangible; the invisible, visible; and the misunderstood, understandable. Combining facts and imagination, students go beyond writing, speaking and drawing to directly experience and effectively demonstrate observable and unobservable phenomena. Students use critical thinking and creativity to “become” the relevant structures, elements, forces, organisms, systems, processes and/or procedures; students gain insights, make connections, clarify sequences and improve their ability to retain and communicate information thus building a sure foundation for future learning.

What students will do:

In each session students develop responsibility to themselves and others as they participate in personal exploration and visualization, interaction with partners and collaboration in small groups. Drama activities naturally nurture self-regulation skills as the students work “alone together” (focusing on their own participation and allowing others to do the same) and are guided to discuss, reflect and give/receive feedback. All students are equally involved in a grade-level Sharing or other culminating project that demonstrates the scientific concepts and the acting/movement techniques learned. For the Sharing students problem-solve together as they combine components experienced in small groups to create an original movement-based scene, possibly adding sounds, songs, dialogue and/or narration to enhance or clarify the information presented.

Imagine your students creating these examples or select your own topic to deepen their learning:

The Declining Bee Population
Creating scenes to demonstrate pollination and the causes/effects of the decline in the bee population

Newton’s Laws of Motion
Acting out everyday situations to show how each law works

Systems of the Body
Using movement to contrast how blood is pumped or flows in the arteries and veins or to show how parts of a cell function

The Hydrological Cycle
Transforming from small groups of water molecules into one solid molecular structure of ice or designing multiple ways to show evaporation, condensation and precipitation

The Solar System
Demonstrating the cyclical patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the moon or the seasons

Habitats
Creating the 4 levels of the Rainforest or the Ocean and transforming into the unique animal life each supports

Geological Time
Exploring and demonstrating changes in the earth's surface

Waves and Information
Using movement to model amplitude and wavelength

*See Additional Notes for other Topic Suggestions and Reading Connections.


Alternate Topics may include but are not limited to:

Animals (particularly Mammals and Reptiles), the Five Senses, Life Cycle of Plants, Properties of Matter, Motion, Re-cycling, Energy and Matter, Sound and Light, Land Formations, Flight, Weather and Climate, Ecosystems, Phases of the Moon, Natural Resources, Inventors and Inventions


ReadingConnections to Literature or Informational Texts might be:

One Well by Rochelle Strauss and All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson with the Water Cycle

Native American poetry with Phases of the Moon

Animal poems or stories such as Mossy by Jan Brett or Native American legends with Mammals and Reptiles

Over in the Meadow and companion books on desert, forest, grasslands, arctic and ocean with Habitats

A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry with Natural Resources and Ecology

*All ACTive Learning programs have been developed and implemented by a professional Theatre Educator in collaboration with Classroom Teachers and Arts Specialists.
1-3 are welcome, if the classroom teacher desires. They can be most helpful in the 4th and 5th sessions to facilitate preparing and implementing the grade level Share.

Grade K

Grade K: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Animals, Plants, and Their Environment: K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.
Grade K: Reading Standards for informational Text: Key Ideas and Details #2: With prompting and support, identify the main topic and retell key details of the text.
Grade K: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. With prompting and support, interact with peers and contribute to dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama). b. With prompting and support, express original ideas in dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., creative drama, process drama, story drama).
Grade K: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. With prompting and support, understand that voice and sound are fundamental to dramatic play and guided drama experiences (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 1

Grade 1: Space Systems: Patterns and Cycles: 1-ESS1-1. Use observations of the sun, moon, and stars to describe patterns that can be predicted.
Grade 1: Reading Standards for Literature: Craft and Structure #5: Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
Grade 1: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. b. With prompting and support, participate in group decision making in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 1: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. With prompting and support, identify and understand that physical movement is fundamental to guided drama experiences (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 2

Grade 2: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
Grade 2: Reading Standards for Informational Text: #3: Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts or steps in technical procedures in text.
Grade 2: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Demonstrate the relationship between and among body, voice, and mind in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 2: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6.1: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a.Contribute to group guided drama experiences (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama) and informally share with peers.

Grade 3

Grade 3: Forces and Interactions: 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Grade 3: Reading Standards for Informational Text: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas #7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Grade 3: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Participate in methods of investigation to devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work. b. Compare ideas with peers and make selections that will enhance and deepen group drama/theatre work.
Grade 3: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Participate in a variety of physical, vocal, and cognitive exercises that can be used in a group setting for drama/theatre work.

Grade 4

Grade 4: Earth’s Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth: 4-ESS1-1. Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time
Grade 4: Reading Standards for Informational Text: Craft and Structure #4: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Grade 4: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Practice selected exercises that can be used in a group setting for drama/theatre work.
Grade 4: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6.1: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. Share small-group drama/theatre work, with peers as audience.

Grade 5

Grade 5: Earth’s Systems: 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
Grade 5: Reading Standards for Informational Text: #3: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas or concepts in a historical, scientific or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Grade 5: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work that reflect collective inquiry about characters and their given circumstances.
Grade 5: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a.Choose acting exercises that can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

Grade 6

Grade 6: Earth’s Systems: MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity
Grade 6: Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects: Craft and Structure # 4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in specific scientific or technical context relevant to Grade 6 texts and topics.
Grade 6: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. b. Contribute ideas and accept and incorporate the ideas of others in preparing or devising drama/theatre work.
Grade 6: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

Grade 7

Grade 7: Forces and Interactions: MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Grade 7: Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects: Craft and Structure # 4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in specific scientific or technical context relevant to Grade 7 texts and topics.
Grade 7 Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Examine and justify original ideas and artistic choices in a drama/theatre work based on critical analysis, background knowledge, and historical and cultural context. b. Demonstrate mutual respect for self and others and their roles in preparing or devising drama/theatre work.
Grade 7: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Participate in a variety of acting exercises and techniques that can be applied in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.

Grade 8

Grade 8: Structure, Function, and Information Processing: MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Grade 8: Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects: Craft and Structure # 4: Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in specific scientific or technical context relevant to Grade 8 texts and topics
Grade 8: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. a. Articulate and apply critical analysis, background knowledge, research, and historical and cultural context to the development of original ideas for a drama/theatre work. b. Share leadership and responsibilities to develop collaborative goals when preparing or devising drama/theatre work.
Grade 8: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5.1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Use a variety of acting techniques to increase skills in a rehearsal or drama/theatre performance.
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