Land of the Lost

By Dana Holden, February 27, 2017

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Other

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

10 x 50 minute lessons


This lesson sequence is for elementary students to develop their communication, literacy and collaboration skills. Students will work in groups to make a drama in the role as future citizens that communicates the impact of humans on a lost land. The students then perform in groups and respond to another group’s performance. BACKGROUND: This task is part of Education Queensland\'s Curriculum into the Classroom resource package. It is aligned with the Australian Curriculum but has been adapted for the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum\'s ERC and United States teaches by Fellow, Dana Holden.

National Standards

STANDARDS: COMMON CORE CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1-3, 7, 9; W.1,2,9; SL.1, 2, 6; L.1, 2 NEW YORK LEARNING STANDARDS English Language Arts Standards 1 and 3 The Arts Standards 3 and 4 Social Studies Standard 4 English Language Arts Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation The Arts Standard 3: Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Contributions of the Arts Social Studies Standard 4: Economics CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Range of Writing: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


Students will be able to: • TASK 1 DEVISING: Work collaboratively in small groups to make sure your performance includes the following: - A landscape, choose one which is mostly uninhabited - Three drama conventions, such as narration, soundscape, freeze frame, collective role-play - A piece of scripted drama; refer to poetry extracts 1 and 2 supplied by your teacher - A clear message or intention - Share your drama with the class - Length: 15–30 seconds per student • TASK 2 PERFORMING: Work collaboratively in small groups to perform your devised drama for the class. - When performing your drama, make sure that you consider the following: - Know where you have to stand and move in the drama. - Remember what you have to say and when you have to speak. - Stay in character. - Maintain energy on stage. - Length: 1–2 minutes • TASK 3 RESPONDING: Complete the response sheet on: - your devised drama - a student devised drama viewed in class. - Length: 30–200 words Refer to the attachment for tasks and marking guide.


• Please see attachment to assist with the three tasks


Materials for student prototypes and presentations: Paper, colored paper, pens, colored pencils, scissors, glue, sticky tape, garbage bags and any other materials you feel your students need in order to create their performances.


• Devising • Forming • Presenting • Performing • Responding • Lost land • Uninhabited • Economy • Tourism • Pros and cons • Flora • Fauna • Aboriginal/Indigenous • Resources • Polished performance


LESSON 1 1. Check In If you have the capabilities, sit in a circle with your class. Ask the students to answer the following questions: 1. What is your favorite animal? 2 Where would you go right now if you could go anywhere? 3. What is the biggest challenge you face in your life? 4. What is something you wish you could fix about our world? Once the students have had their turn answering all the questions, discuss some of their responses and the challenges they highlighted. Have a brainstorm discussion about anything they know of that might help solve any of these issues. 2. Human Impact Who is responsible for the issues highlighted above? Are there other issues or problems in our world that people other than us might have? Who is responsible (if anyone) for those problems? In small groups, research areas of the world which have experienced loss of environment due to humans moving into the area. Explore what this has done to the environment, the economy, tourism and other potential factors. Write a list of pros (for) and cons (against). 3. Idea Collection Collect all your research and ideas onto a poster or into a scrap book. Choose someone to take notes for the group and choose someone to be the Presenter of your group – this person will feedback to the whole class about what you found in the next lesson. LESSON 2 1. Check In Explain that today students will be sharing what they have been researching about areas of the world which have experienced change because of humans inhabiting them. Point out that these changes could be both positive and negative, and depend on who you ask. Also talk about how it might have changed how the original inhabitants live and if that has caused concern for them. 2. Presenting Ideas Present research to the class. Discuss each presentation. 3. Review and introduction to Lost Lands Review the major themes that came from the presentations. Now, set the students a challenge for which they will create a story structure and group performances for. • Your group are going to explore a new land. The title of your show will be called “The Lost Land of …”, you need to fill in the blank. • Decide where in the world your lost land will be. It could be a desert, a forest or bush, it needs to be somewhere that does not have high human population. • You need to consider what you will do when you arrive; if there is already a community of people there; what flora and fauna are present; what resources are available for survival; etc • You need to come up with a short play. Your ideas need to be collected and sketched/written down. • You will show everyone your ideas in 2 lessons time, then you will rehearse and polish your performance so you can present your play to the whole class in Lesson 8. 4. Planning Time Students now return to their group to choose where they will be, what they will discover and start mapping out their play. LESSON 3-4 These lessons are for students to plan and start preparing for their play. They might write a script or do a storyboard (or both). This depends on the time you have. Focus on brainstorming ideas. Students should not stick to their first idea for their plays but come up with multiple ideas and scenarios before choosing one. Give them prompts and challenges as they talk about what they will create. Teach students about freeze frames (still images which can come to life. They point out key moments in the play. Freeze frames could also have all but one student freeze as that students delivers a monologue to the audience which the other characters can’t hear but lets the audience further into the story or what that character is thinking/feeling). In Lesson 4, students will share their ideas for their plays with the class and get feedback. This is their first “prototype” of their play and should develop further after getting feedback. Focus on story, the research that you have already done into the impact of humans on places and other cultures, and what challenges the students face as explorers in this new place. LESSON 5-8 Students finalize their ideas in lesson 5, then rehearse and polish their plays in lessons 6 and 7. In lesson 8 the students will perform their plays for the class. Feedback is still appropriate at this stage. Students can create and wear costumes for performance. They might also create key prop items. Make sure students consider voice, facial expressions, movement and so on. LESSON 9-10 In lesson 9 and 10 students will discuss what they saw in the performances and write a written response. See attached sheet to help them structure their response.


Students will demonstrate the ability to: • Participate in whole class and small group discussions to solve a problem • Work independently and in groups • Present their idea to their peers in a variety of modes (spoken pitch/play) • Write a reflective and critical response

Enrichment Extension Activities

You can do all three tasks or less as required. To extend further, you can also have the students piece their performances together into a collage drama. Students could also play with freeze frames, conscience alley, mantle of the expert, media and other dramatic conventions.

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