5th Grade – Play Props and Scenery

5th Grade – Play Props and Scenery

Description of the Unit – Students will conceptualize, design and build props and set pieces for their end-of-year performance. This unit can help anyone who has some kind of event or play to put on and is looking at how students can take full control of the process.

Activity statement – Ah, who knows when we might ever be able to put on school performances again, given our current situation during this pandemic to limit gatherings. If you’re reading this far into the future, I hope this limitation is a thing of the past!

This unit gives students complete ownership over the design and creation of the props and set pieces needed for our school’s annual 5th grade musical performance. It is an opportunity for students to challenge their imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity. Given that they work in groups, it is also a perfect opportunity to practice skills such as negotiation, delegating and compromise.

Goals – Students should…

Understand:

  • The vision developed by the class for the performance
  • What props and scenery will be needed to attain said vision

Know:

  • How they want to approach each set piece
  • How to create a plan

Be able to:

  • Work in groups to attain their goals
  • Use organizational and planning skills to be able to complete their work intime for the performance
  • Use communication skills to propose ideas, come to a consensus, and delegate responsibilities

Objectives – Students will:

  • Conceptualize, design and build their own props and set pieces
  • Work in groups, using delegating and negotiating skills

Resources and materials – These are just some of the many materials we have used during this unit in the past, but you might have some of your own ideas for materials!

  • Flat cardboard
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Recycled and found objects (as much as possible)
  • Poster board
  • Bristol board (white)
  • Colored construction paper
  • Rulers
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue guns
  • Scissors
  • Exacto knives
  • Cutting mats
  • Stencils
  • Paint (acrylic or tempera)
  • Paint brushes
  • Tablecloths
  • Towels
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Colored tissue paper
  • Yarn
  • Aluminum foil
  • Space!!!

Evaluation – Did students:

  • Use the most efficient and practical means to create their props?
  • Use creative engineering skills to fabricate their pieces?
  • Use skills of collaboration and negotiation to work effectively in groups?
  • Complete the necessary props and set pieces for their performance?

Informal:

  • Student questions
  • Group discussions
  • Group collaboration
  • Completed props
These 5th grade students were creating the giant's hands for the play 'Jack & the Beanstalk.' They designed and engineered the hands out of pliable but heavy wire for the skeleton onto which they paper-maché the skin. To manipulate the hands, they affixed cardboard tubes to the wire, and paper-maché over it to keep it one place.
These 5th grade students were creating the giant’s hands for the play ‘Jack & the Beanstalk.’ They designed and engineered the hands out of pliable but heavy wire for the skeleton onto which they papier-maché the skin. To manipulate the hands, they affixed cardboard tubes to the wire, and papier-maché over it to keep it one place.
These are the finished giant's hands as described in the image above. This is actually a photo of them several years later, so you can see how well they were made, to last this long.
These are the finished giant’s hands as described in the image above. This is actually a photo of them several years later, so you can see how well they were made, to last this long.
For a school musical, students needed to sing as if from out of the back of a school bus window.
For another school musical, students needed to sing as if from out of the back of a school bus window.
Rather than using a real soccer or volleyball, students thought it would be more fun to make them.
Rather than using a real soccer or volleyball, students thought it would be more fun to make them
This was the backdrop for another performance, made collectively out of torn-paper collage
This was the backdrop for another performance, made collectively out of torn-paper collage
Here students are creating the set for a puppet show.
Here students are creating the set for a puppet show.
Here is one view of the completed set for the student puppet show.
Here is one view of the completed set for the student puppet show.
This is a view from the audience of the puppet show set.
This is a view from the audience of the puppet show set.
For this particular play students needed to come up with animal costumes. They decided to use solid-color sweatshirts and embellish them with the various features attributed to each animal.
For this particular play students needed to come up with animal costumes. They decided to use solid-color sweatshirts and embellish them with the various features attributed to each animal.
This group worked on a boat complete with ocean, and some palm trees.
This group worked on a boat complete with ocean, and some palm trees. Here they are trying out the props during dress rehearsal.
This was a cute one, because on one side they painted themselves today, and on the other what they would look like in the future.
This was a cute one, because on one side they painted themselves today, and on the other what they would look like in the future.

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