ALEX Learning Activity



A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Jennifer Salvant
System:Hoover City
School:Robert F Bumpus Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1693
Digital Tool/Resource:
Improv Warm-Ups: Machines
Web Address – URL:

This drama activity uses collaboration and explores movement, sequencing, and vocalization. The students will need to contribute ideas as they create and simulate a machine.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 6
5) Contribute ideas and accept and incorporate the ideas of others in preparing or devising drama/theatre work.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Develop
Essential Questions:
EU: Theatre artists work to discover different ways of communicating meaning.
EQ: How, when, and why do theatre artists' choices change?
Concepts & Vocabulary:

Skills Assessed
  • Sixth graders work collaboratively to plan a dramatization, take part in its production, and discuss the results. They project movement and improvise dialogue in dramas. No prop, sets, or costumes used at this point.
  • The focus for this age group is to expand body awareness and sensory perceptions. Students incorporate their life experiences into dramatic play by creating environments, analyzing characters, and inventing actions to depict chosen life experiences.
Skill Examples:
Ways to Explore Imagination: Ways to Create Body Movement with Storytelling:
  • Students can incorporate group storytelling with using the concept of a living pop-up book. Students work in groups of three to five to write an original story and are prepared to act it out with the use of the concept of the Pop Up Book. See the link below:
Way to Explore Artistic Choices:
  • For the idea to create their own understanding and opinion of artistic choices, students view live and recorded presentations, identifying dramatic elements such as plot, dialogue, movement, set, costume, and props. Students demonstrate, describe, and illustrate, with examples from the performance(s), a variety of ways a specific character communicates with the audience. Students should be able to articulate these opinions in oral and written form. Below is a great link to comparing acting choices in theatre vs. film. This is a great starting point:
Learning Objectives:

By incorporating each other's ideas, the students will collaboratively prepare a machine that explores movement, sound, and pace.


  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

The students are placed in groups of five to six. Have each group member come up with a type of machine that the group could create. The students need to deliberate and decide what kind of machine they are going to create together. Some examples of machines include a dog washing machine, a get ready for school machine, and a pizza making machine. Once the group has chosen a machine to prepare, each student explores and establishes a sound and movement that they can repeat numerous times representing a part of the machine. Each student in the group contributes a part of the machine. They need to stand lined up shoulder to shoulder facing out to the audience or the classroom, and their feet must stay planted. The movements are sequential from the beginning of the task through to the end. For example, the beginning of the pizza making machine would be throwing the dough and the end would be eating a slice or taking the pizza out of the oven. 

The digital tool included is a reference for the instructor.

Assessment Strategies:

Informal Assessment: As the students prepare their machines, assess how well they are sharing ideas. Are they allowing every student in their group to share an idea(s)? Are they supporting each other as they explore a sound and a movement? Are the students listening to each other's ideas as they prepare their machines?

Have each group perform their machine in front of the class. How well is their machine communicating the task it is supposed to accomplish? Are the students working together and collaborating? Are the students able to listen to each other and adjust the pace of their machine by responding to each other? Ask them what terms are explored while creating machines (cue, line, listening, ensemble, collaboration, and pace).

Advanced Preparation:

Have your roster separated into equal groups of four to six students. 

Variation Tips (optional):

You can have students build machines that do not have a specified purpose (are more abstract) after this beginning activity. They would build their machine by joining in one at a time and creating a sound and movement therein creating another part of the machine. 


Notes or Recommendations (optional):

The digital tool provided has an explanation of machines and explains some variances. It can be used as a reference for the instructor before teaching this lesson.

  Keywords and Search Tags  
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