Communication Through Physical Movement

Lesson 2:  Communication Through Physical Movement

Lead Teacher: Emily 


Lesson Objective:

Students will demonstrate an understanding of communication through physical movement by creating a nonverbal reenactment of the three little pigs.

National Arts Standards:

  • TH:Cr3.1.4.b. Develop physical and vocal exercise techniques for an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.
  • TH:Pr6.1.4.a. Share small-group drama/theatre work, with peers as audience.
  • TH:Re7.1.4.a. Identify artistic choices made in a drama/theatre work through participation and observation.


  • Sentence Cards


Warm-Ups: (5-10 min)

  • Teacher’s Warm
  • On hand warm up-
    • Brain Dance


  • Charades Game
    • Explain to students that we will be starting off with this activity. Have a student come up as an example, they will draw a sentance card. The sentence card will have a simple sentence of an action that the student will try and communicate to the class through physical movement. After reading the card the student will use only body movement to try and convey the sentence to the class. As they perform the sentence in front of the class, their classmates will try to decode the message. About 5 students will take a turn in the actions.



  • Step 1:
    • Remind students of last week’s lesson where we talked about facial expressions. Who remembers what we did last time we were here? What did we learn about facial expressions? Can someone show me one of their favorite emotions that they explored?
    • Today we are going to be working on how we can show emotion and action in our bodies. We are all going to get on our feet. Now on our dots I want you to show me the same emotions and what they might look like using your whole body. Show me Happy! Sad! Angry!
    • We have some very interesting choices being made here. (Side Coaching: What choices can you make to depict that emotion even stronger?) Now that we’ve gotten a chance to practice these we are going to play a guessing game. We are going to split into two teams. Taking turns each team is going to create an emotion just like we have been and then the other team is going to observe the choices that were made and then try and guess what emotion they are creating.
    • Split the class into two. With the first group tell them that their emotion is “SURPRISE”. Give the students a 3,2,1 Freeze call as they freeze into their positions. Side coach with the group guessing. What do you guys see them doing? Are some of them doing the same things? What different things do you see? After observations ask them to guess the emotion. If they can’t figure it out, have the other group tell them.
    • Complete this again with the other group. Their word is “DISGUST”.
    • Play two rounds of this with the hour long 4th grade class with the words SCARED and EXCITED.
    • We saw some interesting choices being made with those actions. What were some choices you observed being made with each emotion? What did some of those choices remind you about in your own life?


  • Step 2:
    • Now we are going to add actions to our emotions. Everyone is going to find a place in the room where they can stand on their own. You can’t be too close to anyone.
    • Now that we are in our own spaces let’s explore some activities we can do. Remember you need to stay in your own spot while doing these activities. What would it look like if we were rock climbing? Swimming? Running?
    • Now that we’ve got to do some activities, now let’s explore a world that we are going to create. Everyone close your eyes and take a deep breath. 
      • Now you are walking around in the playground and see some bricks left over from the new building they are making. You go over to the bricks and pick one up. How does the brick feel? Is it heavy? Is it rough? How big is it? Now you out the brick down and continue walking on. As you walk you run into a pile of sticks! Well, these are just in your way so you need to move them out of your way. As you move the sticks away let’s explore the sticks a bit and see how they feel. What shape are they? What color? Are they different sizes? Are they heavy? Really show me what these sticks look like. Finally after your long tasks of moving the sticks they are finally out of your way and you can continue on your journey. The wind suddenly starts blowing really hard at you and start pushing you away. What does it look like as you try and fight against the wind that is trying so hard to blow you away? As you push and push you are suddenly able to break free into a run. As you speed past everything you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a farm. You sneeze a really big sneeze when you notice there is all this hay around! Well, we don’t want your allergies getting to you, so you decide to pick up the hay and to move it far far away. Let’s explore the hay as you move it away. What does it feel like? How heavy is it? What color is it? Well now that you’ve moved all the hay you decide you should probably get back to school. So, you jump into the river that is near by and swim all the way back to Mrs. Dunlap’s class.
  • Step 3:
    • Wow, you guys what an adventure we just went on! Let’s all take a seat in our spots and take one big breath together.
    • Now that you guys have gotten to practice storytelling through your bodies we are going to tell stories to each other using only our bodies. Do you guys know the story, The Three Little Pigs? Who can quickly tell the story for me?
    • Great job! So, we are going to split you guys up into groups of 4 and together you guys are going to tell us the story of the Three Little Pigs without saying any words. Only using your bodies like we just did.
    • Split class into groups of four and let them work for a couple of minutes. When groups are ready to perform, collect everyone at the front and let each group perform.
    • That was some great story telling all! What were some of the choices that you guys saw from some of the performances? What choices were made from the other groups that were similar and different to the choices made by your own group? What choices did you see that you thought were successful in communicating the story to you? Did you discover anything new about The Three Little Pigs? 
    • Thank you all for coming and participating today. Now before we head out we are all going to sit, take a deep breath, and sit quietly to prepare to go.
    • As students sit quietly, they can be excused to get in line and go back to class.



  • Discussion of choices that were made by classmates in their performances of The Three Little Pigs.
    • What were some of the choices that you guys saw from some of the performances? 
    • What choices were made from the other groups that were similar and different to the choices made by your own group? 
    • What choices did you see that you thought were successful in communicating the story to you? 
    • Did you discover anything new about The Three Little Pigs?