Numeracy in Drama

I thought I’d post a couple of quick ideas to get you thinking about how you could used numeracy in the Drama classroom. We’re all supposed to be teaching it in some way or another and it often gets missed under the pile of everything else that needs to be done. I have found that these ideas can seemlessly be incorporated into a lesson. Just like vegies hidden in the bolognaise, the kids won’t have a clue that they’re even doing maths.

  • I learnt this one from one of my fabulous prac student’s: when forming groups tell everyone to imagine they are a 5 cent coin. Have the student’s walk around the room and then call out different amounts. The “coins” have to join with other “coins” to make the correct amount. If any of them can’t make a group they are the “change.”
  • When preparing for a performance evening get the student’s to create a map of the theatre with the chairs in their appropriate arrangement. Ensure they number the rows correctly and that the rows correspond with the ticket. Have student’s calculate how much they will make if every seat is sold. Have student’s calculate how many seats they need to sell to break even.
  • Count rhythms and beats in some dialogue or when doing script work or soundscapes in improvisation.  Vary the pace of the rhythms and beats and look at the effect on dramatic meaning.
  • This last one is my favourite. When teaching the elements of production to Year 11, I like to do a little activity called Hey, Mr Producer. The student’s form groups and imagine they are running a theatre company.  They are producing the musical “Chicago” (you can choose whatever play/musical you like). Allocate them a set amount of money. I give them a fictional $1 million. Provide them with a spreadsheet that lays out all the areas in which they would need to cover their costs, for example royalties, costume, set, promotion, food and beverage, lighting/sound equipment, actors fees, staff etc. Be specific about how much light and sound equipment is needed as well as how many hours you need the actors to work and for how many days. Provide the student’s with a list of websites that give information on prices for all the various areas. Even encourage them to email or call some of the shops for quotes. Have them decide on the best possible price and report back to the class on how much they spent on their version of the show.

I’m looking for more numeracy strategies. Have you got anything to share? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Pi Day (to the 69th digit)! / Mykl Roventine /