Skip Navigation


Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Lesson Plan



Lesson Plan:

Exploring Technical Elements

Students explore the use of an element of drama in a theatrical production and collaborate to share their findings on a poster.
  • Length: 1 class period


  • Students will be able to understand and use technical elements in drama.

Resource Used:

Found On: Performance Excerpts
Video Length: 00:06:29


costumes, lighting, makeup, props, scenery, sound, staging

TV/VCR or DVD player, poster board, variety of markers

Optional: computer with Internet access


Instructional Strategies and Activities


Using colored chalk, draw a picture of Frankenstein on the chalkboard for students to see when they arrive in class. (Students love to see their teachers’ attempts at artwork.) Upon entering the room, they will express curiosity about the day’s lesson.


Tell students they will be watching an excerpt from the play Frankenstein. Before showing the video, review the elements of drama with students. If you want to, use the game “Zip, Zap, Zop.”

Review/warm-up game

“Zip, Zap, Zop” uses fast action and repetition to remind students of the elements of drama. Have students stand in a large circle. One student begins the game by lunging into the circle and pointing at another student while saying, “Zip!” Then the student pointed to does the same action to another student, but says “Zap!” And it continues, “Zip, Zap, Zop.”

Once students are familiar with the action of the game, change the oral part to technical elements. One student will lunge, point, and say, “Costumes!” The student pointed to will name another technical element, such as “Scenery!” Continue until all students have named several elements (they can repeat an element, as long as it’s not the same as the element just mentioned). Spend about 10 minutes on this activity.

(The “Zip, Zap, Zop” game was developed by Bet Stewart, artistic director of Intuition Theatre.)

View video and conduct cooperative learning activity (about 25 minutes)

Show the excerpt from Frankenstein. Tell students to observe the technical elements and how they are used. They should make notes about each of the technical elements: staging, lighting, sound, costumes, props, makeup, and scenery.

Divide the class into seven groups and assign each group a technical element. Each group is to create a poster about its assigned element. The poster will identify and define the assigned element and illustrate and/or describe how the element was used in the Frankenstein production shown in the video excerpt.

The poster should meet the following criteria:


  • technical element clearly identified and defined
  • element creatively illustrated (make drawings showing Frankenstein’s makeup, the stage set-up, lighting effects, etc.)
  • effect of element’s use in play described


  • appropriately titled
  • error-free
  • uses large print
  • positive space used well
  • enclosed in a simple border

Establish cooperative learning group member assignments:

  • Student 1: Make sure poster criteria are followed.
  • Student 2: Gather materials, put all materials away.
  • Student 3: Make sure all students in the group stay on task.
  • Student 4: Make sure all students write on and contribute to the poster.

Have the groups share their posters and discuss them at the end of the lesson.

Hand out the Exit Slip for Frankenstein for completion in class or as homework.


Support • Connections • Resources


Extensions for Diverse Learners

  • Develop and perform a monologue for one of the characters in the video excerpt.


Writing To Communicate

Personal-Expressive: Write a personal narrative about an event in your life in which you were faced with a moral decision.

Literary: Write a script for the opening scene of an imaginary Frankenstein II.

Transactive: Write a review of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, either a live performance, a video production, or the novel.


Applications Across the Curriculum

Language Arts

  • Each student illustrates a different scene from the video excerpt using the elements of art. Then use the illustrations in a “storytelling circle.” Students stand in a circle according to the chronological order of their illustrations. Each student tells his/her part of Frankenstein’s story until the complete story is told.


  • Research cloning. Compare the ethical questions to those in the play.


  • Use scale factors to determine proportional objects for a set design.

Social Studies

  • Research the time period in which Frankenstein was written. Explore what events or conditions of the time affected the author’s work.

Practical Living

  • Explore how having a healthy body helps actors with the elements of performance: diction, body alignment, breath control, and control of isolated parts of the body.

Vocational Studies

  • Research career opportunities in the theater. What jobs were associated with creating the Frankenstein production? How would you prepare for them?


  • In groups, have students create dances in AB form that will show a movement sequence on the stage.
  • Have students create and sing a song from the point of view of one of the characters in the play.

Open Response Assessment

Prompt: Stage productions take a lot of preparation. Many people and a lot of time were involved in creating the Stage One production of Frankenstein.

Directions: List and define the technical elements. Discuss how three of these elements were used to create effects in the Stage One production of Frankenstein.

Open Response Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Student correctly lists and clearly identifies the technical elements. Student discusses how three of these elements were used in Frankenstein, demonstrating extensive understanding of the technical elements and effectively using many examples and details. Student correctly lists and identifies the technical elements. Student discusses how three of these elements were used in Frankenstein, demonstrating broad understanding of the technical elements and effectively using some examples and details. Student correctly lists and attempts to identify the technical elements. Student discusses how three of these elements were used in Frankenstein, demonstrating basic understanding of the technical elements and using a few examples and details. Student lists and attempts to identify some of the technical elements. Student discusses how one or two elements were used in Frankenstein, demonstrating limited understanding of the technical elements and using few or no examples and details. No answer or irrelevant answer.


Academic Content

Academic Expectations:

  • 2.22: Students create products and make presentations that convey concepts and feelings.
  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances.
  • 2.24: Students appreciate creativity and the value of the arts and humanities.

Program of Studies:

  • Use appropriate terminology to review own and others’ works and constructively suggest ways to improve collaborative artistic processes (e.g., planning, responding, evaluating).

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.1: Students will (identify or describe) (analyze) compare or evaluate the use of elements of drama in dramatic works (literary, technical, performance).
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.2: Students will describe how the technical elements (staging, scenery, props, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound) communicate setting and mood.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-4.4.1: Students will create art for specific purposes, using the elements of art and principles of design to communicate ideas.


Jennifer Chaplin


Please comment on this lesson plan

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951