Lesson Plans: Drama / Theatre
Stage Design: Using Visual Elements to Provide Information to an Audience
Middle School Lesson Plan
Grade Level: 5-8
National Arts Education Standards:
Theatre: 5–3c, 6d, 7c
Arizona Theatre Standards:
Strand 1–Create. Concept 3–Theatre Technology and Design. PO 303–Design original ground plans and set designs for a variety of dramatic works.
Strand 3–Evaluate. Concept 5–Directing. PO 201 – Explain and justify personal criteria for evaluating the
basic elements of text, acting, and production values in
their work and the work of others.
Strand 1–Create. Concept 1–Collaboration. PO 202– Collaborate to design and choose the environmental elements for a scenario/script.
Materials: for a collage–magazines with pictures and words, cloth swatches, objects
- Guide the students to imagine their own room, asking about its shape and size, how it is furnished, the colors, textures and materials in the room, the mood it evokes.
- If someone looked inside, what would they learn about you?
- Students construct “inspiration collages,” assembling pictures, words, cloth, and objects representing their ideas. Example: a picture of a TV wall, a metal key and a cheeseburger wrapper.
- The collages are titled with the sentence, “My room is my…(hangout, studio, etc.).”
- Using slides, renderings, and models of one-room sets, show the students how color, materials with their textures, props, and the use of space provide information about characters.
- Note examples of how designers use symbols and images to create meaning, e.g. placing a wall map on the room of a character who loves to travel.
- Have the students discuss the symbols they used in their collages.
- Have the students envision their own room as a set for a play about themselves; create a written description and a drawing or shoebox model of his or her set, incorporating elements from the collages.
- Create a Designers’ Exhibit. Ask the art teacher to help lead the class through the exhibit pointing out visual elements (color, texture, space, line) and design principles (repetition, balance, emphasis, contrast, unity) that re-enforce the meaning of the settings.
- Help the students learn the vocabulary of the designer/artist.
- Assign groups of students to collaborate in the role of director and designers to design one-room sets for assigned scripts.
Using class developed criteria that deals with the function of the setting as well as the art elements and design principles, students write a critique of the setting for their room and for the collaborative setting. The critique and renderings or pictures of their settings are included in their portfolios.
Based on a lesson plan by Carole Jones, Atlanta, Georgia.