Drama is powerful for learning…

On Friday, we were lucky to have a drama expert come in and run workshops with each class. The aim of these sessions was to introduce and explore the concept of “systems”, provoke thinking, develop understanding and to have fun.

“What did you notice about the different systems you made today?”

Following the drama session, we had a quick chat about what they had noticed. I was blown away by the depth of their understanding of systems that resulted from the different tasks.

On Monday I decided to try a new thinking routine “One word, phrase and sentence” to assess individual understanding of systems following Friday’s drama provocation. Once we had clarified the difference between a phrase and a sentence they got on with it. Wow! Drama is definitely a great way to explore concepts and build conceptual understanding!!

This is how a few different students responded to the thinking routine:
Word: systems
Phrase: parts rely on each other
Sentence: The parts rely on each other to make the system work.

Jake M
Phrase:need parts to work other things
Sentence:A system needs parts to work with other parts to make something.

Word: systems
Phrase: connected parts
Sentence: All the parts connect and then they work all together.

Word: system
Phrase: depending on each other
Sentence: Every part of a system relies on each other to be able to work properly.

I rarely use drama as I feel “unqualified” to run a session, but after observing and participating in this session I have realised the power that drama has for promoting learning. I also realised that not using drama is depriving learners who learn in this way of an opportunity to build conceptual understanding. Finally, I also realised that I don’t need to be an expert. All I need to be able to do is give clear instructions and hand over to the kids.