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The How and Why of Everything (middle)

Last changed: 05/20/2019 12:25pm
6 , 7 , 8
Theatre Science English
Grade Level Program Integration
5 60 min


Five, 60-90 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 Science Teacher, the program may be completed in 1 or 2 weeks or spread out to allow time in between for covering material or completing classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher.

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 Science Teacher 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 the Science 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 (real/abstract) to demonstrate an element, structure or organism from a particular scientific topic working individually, with a partner and in a small or large group.

I can use movement qualities (rate, weight, energy) to demonstrate forces, processes, stages of a cycle, sequences or procedures from a particular scientific topic working individually, with a partner and in a small or large group.

I can propose theories and explanations verbally and in writing and can combine shapes and movement working with peers to test and demonstrate them for observation and response from others.



For student success: To be is to see. To do is to understand.

In the How and Why of Everything, students visualize and experience challenging scientific concepts through improvisation/movement exercises that make the intangible, tangible; the invisible, visible; and the abstract, concrete.

Drama naturally nurtures self-regulation skills as each session incorporates warm-ups focusing on personal space and students working “alone together” allowing equal participation. Employing critical thinking and creativity each individual “becomes” the relevant structures, elements, forces, organisms, systems or processes of unobservable phenomena.

Students experience a balance of ease and challenge, choice and structure, movement and table work, individual exploration and group collaboration throughout the creative process.

What students will do:

Close reading of text, photos, diagrams and video help students write individual explanations and collaborate with peers to become a living model, actively testing their theories of cause/effect and action/reaction in real world examples.

Work in small groups expands peer relationships and supports academic/artistic risk-taking as students compile ideas, improvise and demonstrate for others, identify similarities and differences and revise/adapt their own theories/insights. Students brainstorm, problem solve, observe and reflect as each class creates a unique Sharing of small scenes or large group collaboration. Follow-up response and discussion solidifies and continues the learning.

The student-centered process allows ample time for exploration and flexibility for adapting schedule or activities as needed. Teacher/Teaching Artist collaboration insures alignment of curricular information with Drama techniques.

*Students say they “understood by acting it out and talking about it, were “not scared or shy showing the whole grade” and “had fun while learning and being social.”

*Teacher notes "100% participation and improved quiz scores."

Choice of Topic is flexible.
Teachers most often select a unit particularly challenging for their students.

*See Additional Notes for sample units



Recent Teacher Choices:

Matter and Chemistry
Exploring atoms and molecules in changing states of matter, demonstrating chemical and physical reactions, testing theories to explain what happened in a real world occurrence (ex. a tanker imploding)

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

Newton’s Laws of Motion
Using movement activities to understand the concepts of laws of motion and create scenes from everyday situations to show how each works

Systems of the Body
Communicating through movement how systems of the body work (ex. blood moving through the circulatory system, air flow during respiration, or how parts of a cell function)

The Hydrological Cycle
Designing multiple ways to show evaporation, condensation and precipitation (ex. one entire class transforming from small groups of water molecules into a solid molecular structure of ice)

*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.

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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ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer