Aristotle was a huge fan of the theatre. He philosophically believed in it and argued with other great thinkers at the time about the necessity and good results of theatrical pursuits. This makes him a great topic for a drama classroom unit.

Aristotle identified six elements that needed to be in a play for it to be worthy: plot, thought, character, diction, spectacle, and sound. This unit by Lea Marshall focuses on and offers exercises for each of Aristotle’s elements - from using fairy tales to examine plot, to re-imagining movie trailers to explore music.

Overview

The overview provides an introduction to the big ideas of the unit, as well as a detailed lesson-by-lesson timeline and map.

1: Three Philosophers Walk Into a Classroom

To introduce students to Aristotle and his connection to theatre.

2: It's Element(ary), My Dear

To introduce students to Aristotle’s six elements.

3: The Plot's the Thing

To introduce the Aristotelian element of plot.

4: Plotting Along

To continue applying the Aristotelian element of plot.

5: Thinking About Thoughts

To introduce the Aristotelian element of Thought.

6: Got Thoughts?

To continue applying the Aristotelian element of Thought.

7: Character Matters

To introduce the Aristotelian element of Character.

8: Speak the Speech

To introduce the Aristotelian element of Diction.

9: I Got the Music

To introduce the Aristotelian element of Music.

10: Spectacular, Spectacular

To introduce the Aristotelian element of Spectacle.

11: Final Project

To have students apply what they have learned.

12: Bonus Lesson: The Three Vs of Storytelling

This can be a standalone lesson, or an add-on to the unit. It introduces the concept of the 3 V's: VIEWERS are looking for a VICARIOUS, VULNERABLE, and/or VISCERAL experience.

Standards Addressed

Common Core


National Core Arts Standards


TH:Re9.1: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work - Grade 7

TH:Re9.1.7.b - Consider the aesthetics of the production elements in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Re9.1: Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work - Grade 6

TH:Re9.1.6.c - Identify a specific audience or purpose for a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cn11.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 7

TH:Cn11.2.7.a - Research and discuss how a playwright might have intended a drama/theatre work to be produced.

TH:Cn11.1: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 7

TH:Cn11.1.7.a - Incorporate music, dance, art, and/or media to strengthen the meaning and conflict in a drama/theatre work with a particular cultural, global, or historic context.

TH:Cn11.1: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding - Grade 6

TH:Cn11.1.6.a - Identify universal themes or common social issues and express them through a drama/theatre work.

TH:Pr4.1: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr4.1.6.a - Identify the essential events in a story or script that make up the dramatic structure in a drama/theatre work.

California VAPA Standards (2001)


California VAPA Standards (2019)


6.TH:Re9 Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.

6.TH.Re9.b - Identify a specific audience or purpose for a drama/theatre work.

7.TH:Cn11.2 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

7.TH:Cn11.2.a - Research and discuss how a playwright might have intended a drama/theatre work to be produced.

6.TH:Cn11.1 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.

6.TH.Cn11.1.a - Identify universal themes or common social issues and express them through a drama/theatre work.

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts


North Carolina Essential Standards


Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts


MS 117.212 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

B.1.E - demonstrate knowledge of theatrical vocabulary and terminology.

HS 117.317 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.D - analyze and evaluate dramatic structure and genre.

Alberta, Canada


Theatre Studies Drama 10 (Greek, Medieval or Elizabethan, and Canadian)

1 - recognize theatre has evolved as a traditional art form

Theatre Studies Drama 30 (Early or Middle or Late drama)

4 - recognize dramatic structure of a play

Technical Theatre/Design 10-20-30 - Management - Sound

1 - demonstrate understanding of the purpose of stage sound

Improvisation/Acting Level II - Intermediate

21 - sustain a character throughout an exercise or scene

British Columbia - 2018 (latest)


GRADE 8 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting

Describe, interpret and respond to works of art

GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Reasoning and reflecting

Receive, offer, and apply constructive feedback

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Explore and Create

Improvise and take creative risks to express meaning

GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and the audience

GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate awareness of self, others, and audience

GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand

Demonstrate respect for self, others, and audience

Ontario, Canada


Grade 11 - Reflecting, Responding and Analyzing - The Critical Analysis Process

B.1.2 - analyse drama works to determine how they communicate ideas about issues, culture, and society