Dimon Elementary, Year One
Davis – Austin Sargent
Learning Objective/Exit Outcomes:
- Students will understand the journey of Christopher Columbus.
- Students will identify obstacles that would impede said journey.
- Students will understand empathy as it relates to themselves and to history.
- Students will use different methods of instruction to support their peers.
- Students will collaborate to achieve a common goal through the minefield.
SS3H2 Describe European exploration in North America.
- Describe the reasons for and obstacles to the exploration of North America.
- Describe the accomplishments of: John Cabot (England), Vasco Núñez de Balboa (Spain), Hernando de Soto (Spain), Christopher Columbus (Spain), Henry Hudson (The Netherlands), and Jacques Cartier (France).
- Describe examples of cooperation and conflict between European explorers and American Indians.
TA3.RE.1 Engage actively and appropriately as an audience member.
- Participate as audience.
- Demonstrate appropriate theatre etiquette.
TA3.CN.1 Explore how theatre connects to life experience, careers, and other content.
- Connect theatre experiences to life experiences and other content areas.
Social Studies & Theatre
Your pre-existing classroom space. The students in Mrs. Davis’ class used only their chairs to create obstacles. Any materials can be used.
The PAIR Specialist started by introducing the activity. The Specialist explained that today we would be going on a journey together, although only one person would be going through it. We all have to work as a team to get one person through the obstacle course.
The teacher selected one student to stand outside, while the rest of the class took 1 minute to use their chairs to create obstacles. After the obstacles were created, students found a spot to stand around the room with their backs on the walls, forming a circle.
The student was brought back in, and asked to keep their eyes closed. The PAIR Specialist reiterated that instructions would be given one at a time going around the circle. The activity began, and the students experimented with what types of instructions were the most successful.
After 7 or 8 examples, and as the journey was starting to progress, the PAIR Specialist paused the activity to integrate the content.
“So far, we’ve been on our own journey. But I know that you have also been learning about someone who took a very important journey. Raise your hand if you can tell me who that person is.”
Once the students identified Christopher Columbus, the teacher asked follow-up questions like “Where did he come from? Where was he headed? Who gave him the money to make that journey?”
The activity was resumed, but this time before each instruction the rest of the class had to refer to the journeyperson as “Christopher Columbus”, as to reiterate the roleplaying strategy.
Because this class was succeeding so quickly, the teacher and the PAIR specialist added some unexpected obstacles on the way. Ideas for Christopher Columbus could include:
- Rough Seas—- the teacher gets to move the journeyperson to a new spot in the room
- Cloudy Night— the teacher can spin the journeyperson around (think pinata party) and reorient them somewhere else
- Out of Food!- the teacher sets a water bottle or something in a different place in the room.
Both ways of completing this strategy were very successful, it was just different based on what worked best for the classroom environment.
Be sure to discuss how theatre connects to the content and strategy used in this lesson to fully incorporate the arts standards. Ask students how to engage as audience members as well as to consider how the minefield would affect them, should they be the person chosen to walk through the minefield. Also connect the content with theatre by asking students how this game could become a play to be presented to an audience outside of the classroom about the journey of Christopher Columbus.