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Math Takes the Stage (elementary)

Last changed: 05/14/2020 5:17pm
K , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Theater Math
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min

Five, 45-60 minute sessions with a final Sharing day during Session 5
Sessions typically held once or twice a week to best integrate with selected Math unit
Schedule determined during pre-planning meeting and based on needs of the school

*The program is designed to integrate with the Geometry unit. If scheduled otherwise, activities can be adapted to incorporate skills from an alternative Math unit.
In-School Short Term Residency
All year In-School, Virtual
$10 0
yes In-Person

Props, handouts, scenes or stories based on selected unit or topic
Simple furniture or cubes to represent components of the setting, if needed

Chart paper or white board
Non-lined paper and/or graph paper for each student
Tools for measuring (rulers, yardsticks, tape measures, etc)
A drawing showing dimensions of the school’s performance space
Agreed upon materials or copies
Copy of selected Math unit or chapter and related text for the planning meeting

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
Access to tables/desks/chairs for writing and/or drawing activities
A large space or auditorium reserved for Session 4 and Session 5, if sharing with the whole grade level


I can identify and describe objects and their relationship in an environment by using names of geometric shapes and appropriate grade-level terminology.

I can recognize and/or draw geometric shapes to create a simple floor plan (bird’s eye view) for the setting of a scene in a story or play. (Grades K-4)

I can use design concepts, measurements and mathematical calculations to create a scale drawing of geometric figures for a floor plan of a simple set design for a scene from a story or play. (Grade 5)

I can collaborate with peers to adapt and revise a simple set design representing a location in a story or play, by performing a scene to test it’s functionality.



In Math Takes the Stage, acting skills and movement join forces with math concepts and calculations to increase student understanding of geometric shapes and spatial relationships. By participating in personal exploration, interaction with partners and collaboration in small groups, students naturally nurture self-regulation skills as they apply math to real world challenges.

Students learn basic elements of scene design by using movement and frozen shapes to physically become components of familiar indoor and outdoor locations. Next they identify key elements of settings from a selected grade-level text or improvised scenes, using estimation and measurement to draw simple floor plans (bird’s eye view) of each environment.

For example, based on a guided reading of the book Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, students recall the events and characters, choosing key scenes to represent on stage. If a text is not available from the curriculum, the Teaching Artist guides older students in developing their own original scenes or provides younger students with age appropriate selections such as George and Martha Stories by James Marshall or Aesop’s Fables.

Working cooperatively and creatively with peers, students implement their design using furniture pieces available in the classroom and test the functionality by acting out a simple scene in the setting. Continued problem solving occurs as students revise their choices based on personal experience, peer suggestions and teacher feedback.

The residency culminates with each class brainstorming, problem-solving and collaborating to create a unique Sharing of their settings and scenes. Presenting and reflecting on their own work as well as observing and responding to the work of others solidifies learning in both Math and Drama.

Activities and handouts provided within the program are ideal for working in small groups and centers related to other topics throughout the year.


Depending on the grade/skill level of the students, floor plans can be created individually as free-hand sketches or scale drawings or as a class drawing shapes on chart paper, white board or Smartboard.

At the discretion of the Teacher(s), one session can focus specifically on the math concepts prioritized for that grade-level and may be led by the Classroom Teacher with support from the Teaching Artist.

ACTive Learning residencies integrate theatre into any curricular unit and are structured to provide opportunities for students to: 1) participate comfortably in theatre in the classroom; (2) delve deeply into a specific topic through specially designed drama activities; (3) collaborate creatively on a unique demonstration of their discoveries (4) share and reflect honestly on their work; and (5) give/receive feedback to solidify learning in Theatre and the curriculum.

*All ACTive Learning Through Drama programs have been developed and implemented by a professional Theatre Educator collaborating with Classroom Teachers and Arts Specialists.

1-3 are welcome to assist in the classroom, if the teacher desires.
Parents, guardians and administrators could watch the informal Share in Session 5.

Grade K

Grade K: Mathematics: Geometry: Identify and describe shapes(squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, cubes, cones, cylinders and spheres. Cluster #1: Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind and next to.
Grade K: Mathematics: Geometry: Identify and describe shapes(squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, cubes, cones, cylinders and spheres.Cluster # 2: Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
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. b. With prompting and support, explore and experiment with various technical elements in dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 1

Grade 1: Mathematics: Geometry: Reason with shapes and their attributes. Cluster # 1: Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g. triangles are closed and three-sided) vs non-defining attributes (e.g. color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
Grade 1: Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Measure objects indirectly and by iterating length units. Cluster # 1: Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
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. b. With prompting and support, identify technical elements that can be used in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 2

Grade 2: Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Cluster # 1: Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tool such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
Grade 2: Mathematics: Geometry:Reason with shapes and their attributes. Cluster # 1: Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.
Grade 2: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. b. Contribute ideas and make decisions as a group to advance a story in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 2: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5:1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. b. Explore technical elements in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 3

Grade 3: Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and addition. Cluster # 6: Measure areas by counting unit squares(square cm, square m, square in, square ft, and improvised units)
Grade 3: Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Geometric measurement; recognize perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguish between linear and area measures. Cluster # 8: Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.
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. b. Identify the basic technical elements that can be used in drama/theatre work.

Grade 4

Grade 4: Mathematics: Measurement and Data: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit. Cluster #3: Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems.
Grade 4: Mathematics: Geometry: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles. Cluster #3; Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify the line- symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.
Grade 4: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. b. Make and discuss group decisions and identify responsibilities required to present a drama/theatre work to peers.
Grade 4: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5:1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. a. Articulate the visual details of imagined worlds, and improvised stories that support the given circumstances in a drama/theatre work. b. Propose the use of technical elements in a drama/theatre work.

Grade 5

Grade 5: Mathematics: Geometry: Graph points on the coordinate plane to solve real world and mathematical problems. Cluster # 2: Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.
Grade 5: Mathematics: Geometry: Classify two dimensional figures into categories based on their properties. Cluster # 2: Classify two-dimensional figures in a hierarchy based on properties.
Grade 5: Theatre: Creating: Anchor Standard 2.1: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. b. Participate in defined responsibilities required to present a drama/theatre work informally to an audience.
Grade 5: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 5:1: Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation. b. Demonstrate the use of technical elements in a drama/theatre work.
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ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer