Students will demonstrate an ability to distinguish props from costumes and set dressings, and be able to create a prop table by deciding which items out of a box are props and by creating a prop table from those items.


Materials Needed

Masking Tape, permanent pens, a box of props (Include purses, a cane, glasses, a lamp, a telephone).


Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Bring into the classroom a box of a variety of different items. Include purses, a cane, glasses, a lamp, a telephone and other items that may be categorized as props or set dressings or costumes depending on how they are used. Have students come up and pick out of the box. Make columns on the board labeled “Props”, “Set Dressing” and “Costumes”. Have the students guess under which column the items belong.



Instruction: One the students have been through all the items in the box. Discuss each one and the correct answers. Give them specific definitions of a prop, a set dressing and a costume. (Prop: an item carried on stage or off stage or handled by an actor. Set Dressing: an item that is part of the set, remains in the same place for the duration of the play, is used to decorate the set, anything that in a normal room would remain attached to the wall or piece of furniture. Costumes: Items worn consistently by the actor.)


Checking for Understanding: Ask for a volunteer to explain the differences between a prop, set dressing and a costume.


Transition: Explain that during a play it can be very confusing to keep track of all the props as they are usually items that come on or offstage and may be used by various different performers.


Instruction: In order to keep track of props we have prop tables. Demonstrate on an actual table how a prop table is created using one of the items from the box. Use masking tape and pens to label each spot for a prop.


Modeling: Then ask for Volunteers to come and create a “home” using masking tape for each of the props in the box.


Instruction: Once a complete prop table has been created for the box of props, explain that a good prop master/ mistress will have a system for keeping track of props. Discuss sign in/out sheets. Explain how you can organize a table based on character, order of the show, or frequency of use.


Transition: the props should be easily retrievable and a good prop mistress will know exactly where a prop goes.


Guided Practice: Break the class up into 2 teams. Empty the props from the prop table you created earlier. Time each team, seeing how quickly they can one by one put the props back in their correct places.