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by Les Enfants Terribles

Physical Drama Warm-Up Activity for KS3 & KS4

This activity can be used with KS3 or KS4 students to encourage them to get out of their heads and into their bodies. It plays with scale and physical theatre skills and teaches the difference between shape and formation

  • Start off by counting from 1-5 – then ask them to make the smallest possible shape they can, and get into this shape everytime you say ‘1’.
  • Then ask them to make the biggest shape they can, and ask them to get into that shape every time you say ‘5’.
  • Then slowly count aloud from 1-5 and back again, and have them use their two extremes to find the sizes needed in the middle.
  • Then replace the 1-5 scale with 1-10 scale – this will encourage them to find more nuanced and precise differences as you dictate numbers from 1-10.

Then ask the students to form groups, whichever number per group best suits your class. I usually aim for groups of 5 students, but it really doesn’t matter. Explain that when making a shape in the previous exercise, they were relying solely on their own body, but now in a group, they’ll be making a formation and that they will need to rely on one another to work on a much larger scale. Repeat the exercises above counting 1-5 then 1-10 (depending on time, you could just skip straight to 1-10) 

Now choose a number or letter per group, for example, the number ‘2’.

  • Ask the students to firstly each individually make the “shape of the number 2”
  • Then ask the group to make a “formation of the number 2” – to complicate it further, assign this formation as on a scale of 5
  • Then ask them to reduce and increase the scale using the numbers 1-10. Encourage them to think about how scale can affect perspective – and how they might draw attention to features that help them grow or shrink their formation.
  • Then swap and try a different letter or number, encouraging them to really pay attention to the specific features of the shape, for example the contrast between the curved top of the number two and the sharp angle at the bottom of it. 

As a final extension

Ask them as a group to secretly choose a letter or a number – and make it on a scale of 1-10 – then have you or another group guess which number or letter they have chosen – this will really test their precision

We hope you and your students have a laugh playing around with scale, shape and formation! Let us know how you get on and have a wonderful start to the new academic year!

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