Once Upon A Gravitational Field Lesson Plan

Author: Cassie Walker
Year: 2015
Artform: Theatre
Subjects: Literacy & Science
Grade: 2nd Grade & 3rd Grade
Duration: 45 minutes
Overview:

Students tamper with the laws of nature as they portray beloved folktales and fairy tales in altered gravity. Objects and characters may become heavier, lighter, or float away. How will the story change when Jack is too heavy to climb the beanstalk, or when the brick house floats away? Would the gingerbread man be able to escape if Earth’s gravity was similar to the moon’s? Your students’ hilarious (but scientifically accurate) shenanigans would impress Sir Isaac Newton and Mother Goose alike!

SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT AND RESOURCES

  • Mini Scripts
  • Gravity Cards
  • Optional: Fabric or Props
Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards
Objectives

K-2 INTEGRATED CORE STANDARD 1, OBJECTIVE 3A:
Express personal experiences and imagination through dance, storytelling, music, and visual art.

2ND GRADE UEN 1997 THEATER STANDARD 1, OBJECTIVE 3A:
Plan and dramatize a new complication added to a familiar story.

OBJECTIVE 3B:
Plan and dramatize a new complication that leads to an alternative ending.

3RD GRADE UEN 2010 THEATER STANDARD 1, OBJECTIVE 3A:
Create and improvise a new ending to a familiar story.

2ND GRADE SCIENCE STANDARD 3, OBJECTIVE 1:
Communicate observations about falling objects.

2ND GRADE CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RL.2.2
Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and
determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

2ND GRADE CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

3RD GRADE SCIENCE STANDARD 4, OBJECTIVE 2:
Describe the effects of gravity on the motion of an object.

3RD GRADE CCSS.ELA-LITERACY. RL.3.2
Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures…

Students will act out scenes depicting what would happen if the gravity were different in familiar fables and folktales.

Teaching and Timeline

Introduction

Warm-Up: “Boom Chicka Boom” Call-and-Response

(5 minutes) This call-and-response chant will help your students get into the idea of taking something familiar and adding a twist. The teacher calls out each line, and the students repeat it.

I said a boom-chicka-boom!
I said a boom-chicka-boom!
I said a boom-chicka-rocka-chicka-rocka-chicka-boom!
Oh yeah!
Uh huh!
One more time!

Repeat using different “styles”:

  • Underwater style (use your finger to move your lips to make a bubbly sound)
  • Rock star style
  • Opera style
  • Cowboy style
  • Grandpa style
  • Janitor style (broom-chicka-mop-a…)
  • Barnyard style: (moo-chicka-bock-a…)
  • Parent style: (boom go to your room and don’t come out till next June)

Demonstration

Activate Prior Knowledge

(5 minutes) Briefly help the students retell these fables and folktales. If students are unfamiliar, give a brief synopsis.

Work Period

Performance 1: Normal Gravity

(15 minutes) Place students in groups of 7 or 8. Each group gets a mini-script. (4 students in each group will have lines; 3 or 4 students may be houses, chairs, bowls of porridge, cow, beanstalk, oven, river, etc.) Groups have 5 minutes to practice their scene. Groups will perform using normal gravity.

Performance 2: Altered Gravity

(15 minutes) Then, explain the twist. Hand out a gravity card to each group that describes the change in gravity. Students must change the scene based on the change in gravity. Cards may indicate increased gravity, decreased gravity, or no gravity at all! Students have 5 minutes to practice, then groups will perform their altered-gravity scenes.

Closure/Summary

Debrief

(5 minutes) Discuss with the class: what was different between Performance 1 and Performance 2? Did the ending of the story change? Have students share something they perceived or noticed during the performances.

INTEGRATION INFORMATION

You may want to front-load some information about gravity before doing this lesson. When we did this lesson at my school, the students took the idea and ran, but the students already had prior knowledge of gravity. They knew how planets with more mass have greater gravity and people/objects would all be heavier on that planet, while planets with less mass have less gravity and people/objects would all be lighter on that planet. If you are not on a planet at all, there is no gravity, and people/objects would simply float in space, with nothing to stop them or slow them down.

If you don’t have time to front-load this information before teaching this lesson, make sure to incorporate it into the “Demonstration” section. Take an imaginary trip to different planets and try on the different gravity by acting it out; it’s a field trip your students won’t forget!

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS
  • How do different levels of gravity affect people and objects?
  • How would a change in gravity change a familiar story?
  • How would the characters respond to this change?
DIFFERENTIATION

Adapt as necessary for students with individual abilities and needs.

VOCABULARY
  • Gravity
  • Mass
  • Weight
HISTORICAL ELEMENT

Scientists have been observing patterns in the natural world for thousands of years. In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published some patterns he observed as the Laws of Motion. We are working with the same laws, but changing one variable: the amount of gravity affecting each object.

ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES

Do your students’ performances accurately reflect the gravitational pull of the card they selected?

Did the stories change between performances 1 and 2?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Sign up to get important news and updates from BTSALP delivered to your inbox. Foster your students' learning with resources for workshops, events and projects.