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The How and Why of Everything (elementary)

Last changed: 05/20/2019 12:25pm
K , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Theatre Science English
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min


Five, 45-60 minute sessions with a Sharing (no additional production elements required) or other culminating project for individual classes or entire grade level during Session 5

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 to allow time between sessions for completion of classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher(s).

The program can be designed and scheduled to 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

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 each 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 to use in Session 4 and for the entire grade for Session 5.



I can use size and shape (realistic/abstract) to explore and demonstrate an element, structure or organism from a scientific topic such as Animals, Habitats or Space.

I can use movement qualities (rate, weight, energy) to explore and demonstrate a scientific process or procedure, such as Forces, Changing Landscapes or the Water Cycle.

I can work with partners to use shapes and movement to create a group drama/theatre work to share with peers that shows stages of a cycle, interactions in an environment, steps in a process or how a system works.



Being and Doing support student Understanding.

In the How and Why of Everything, each student overcomes the challenges of abstract scientific concepts by visualizing and experiencing what is too big, too small or too far away to actually see. Acting and movement exercises tap into natural curiosity to effectively make the invisible, visible and the misunderstood, understandable.

Combining facts and imagination, students go beyond writing, speaking and drawing to turn difficult concepts into exciting discoveries. The focus on every child’s exploration assures equal participation, as each gains insights, makes connections, clarifies sequences and builds comprehension and retention throughout the creative process.

Students will:

Drama activities naturally nurture self-regulation skills as students initially work simultaneously “alone together”, focusing on their own participation and allowing others to do the same.

Based on guided reading of selected texts and images, students then work creatively and collaboratively with partners and in small groups to “become” the relevant structures, elements, forces, organisms, systems or processes.

Facilitated by the Teaching Artist and supported by the Classroom Teacher, students brainstorm, improvise, problem-solve, demonstrate, observe, reflect and give/receive feedback as each class integrates movement, sound, poetry and/or narration to create its own unique sharing of scientific concepts.

This short-term residency stands alone, but also provides a foundation for larger long-term projects.

Teachers may select any Science Unit or Topic and a Related Text from the Language Arts Curriculum

Most requested Units and Topics:

Habitats – creating levels of the Rainforest or Ocean and the unique animal life each supports
Hydrological Cycle – demonstrating evaporation, condensation and precipitation
Properties of Matter – transforming from solid to liquid to gas
Solar System - exploring patterns and cycles of the sun, moon and stars or understanding rotation/revolution

*See Additional Notes for Alternate Topics, Reading Connections, and a recent Long-Term Project.



Long-term project example:
Teachers selected a residency on Habitats (specifically Jungle) for four classes of 1st-3rd year students as a precursor to participation in a school play, “The Jungle Book”.

Alternate Topics may include:

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

Sample Reading Connections to Literature or Informational Texts:

One Well by Rochelle Strauss and All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson (Water Cycle)
Native American poetry such as Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London (Phases of the Moon)
Animal poems or stories such as Mossy by Jan Brett or Native American Legends (Mammals/Reptiles)
Over in the Meadow and companion books on desert, forest, grasslands, arctic and ocean (Habitats)
A River Ran Wild by Lynne Cherry (Natural Resources and Ecology)

*All ACTive Learning Through Drama 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.
Get to Know Our Arts Provider:

ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer