Diverse Cultures in Utah

Unit 2 – Drama Integration Lesson#4: Diverse Cultures in UT

Date: (03/09)Lead Teacher:  Pollyanna 


Lesson Objective:

Students will gain empathy for immigrants from the many diverse cultures currently in Utah by participation a guided drama where the students migrate from earth to another planet.


“I can feel empathy for others through drama skills.”


National Arts Standards:

  • TH:Cr1.1.4c.Imagine how a character’s inner thoughts impact the story and given circumstances in a drama/ theatre work
  • TH:Pr6.1.4.a. Share small-group drama/theatre work, with peers as an audience.
  • TH:Cn10.1.4a. Identify the ways drama/theatre work reflects the perspectives of a community or culture.


Social Studies – UT Core Standards:

  • Standard 2
    • Students will understand how Utah’s history has been shaped by many diverse people. 
  • Objective 1
    • Describe various cultural groups in Utah.
    • a.Chart diverse cultural groups from their places of origin to Utah.



  • Character Sheets 
  • Pencils
  • Family History Patchwork Quilt (or an important object to take on a trip)
  • World Map and Utah Map (helpful, could be illustrated on powerpoint)


WARM-UPS: (5-10 min) – 

  • Mindfulness activity


WARM-UPS: Spaceship Utah

  • Invite students to sit on their dots. Once students are in their spots and focuses ask them: What are some reasons why it is important to pay attention, follow directions, and stay on task? [Accept a variety of appropriate answers. Write their answers on the board]
  • Those are good reasons, now that you have come up with these reasons if you are able to accomplish each of these, we are going to watch a special video related to our lesson today.
  • Today we’ll be going on a long imaginary trip far away into outer space. Your home planet is now too polluted to live on and we have to travel to another planet, never to return, but if we’re going to have time to get to our destination, we’ll need to stay on task. 
  • Just like astronauts train for a mission into space, we’re going need to train for our Drama Class Mission by reviewing our Drama Skills. Let’s run some “Drama Diagnostics.” To qualify for our space program, you’ll have to be able to follow directions.
    • Let’s start off by warming up our faces. Sitting still on your dots I want you to show me with your face what it looks like to be Happy, Scared, Angry, Excited
    • Now let’s all stand up quickly and quietly on our dots. Staying in your spot I want you to be happy with your body. How might you body look if you were nervous? What if you were angry?
    • Let’s all quickly sit back on our dots. Now we are going to warm up our voices. For 3 beats you are going to make a sound that you would make when you feel this certain emotion, but once I have finished clapping my hands for the third time you need to go silent. Let’s do a quick practice round. What sound would you make if you were happy?
      • Teacher clap for 3 beats, students should be quiet after the third beat. If they do not repeat the practice round until they are quiet after the third beat.
    • Great practice, now let’s get back to the diagnostic. What sound would you make if you were disgusted? How about worried? What if you were feeling sad?
  • Congratulations class on making it through your training! I think we are now ready to board our spaceship and prepare for our journey!



  • Before we board the ship, I’ve invited a special guest to be with us today, so I want you to pay attention, follow directions, and stay on task. … When I put on this hat, I will become Captain Casey, Captain of the Space Ship Utah [walk around corner, enter in as Teacher-In-Role: “Captain Casey” to explain today’s trip into outer space]. 
    • Welcome fellow astro-explorers, I am Captain Casey. We are excited to have you join us on our journey to find a new planet for us to live on. Before we take off we will need to review some safety protocols. When I say the words “Seat Belt check!” I want you to sit perfectly still, and put on your four-point harness.
    • To put on your harness, I’ll first need you to show me your palms. You’ll then clip in your harness by touching your palm to your knees in a cross pattern like this. Once you are clipped, voices will be turned off and eyes will be on me. Let’s practice this a couple of times.
      • Practice this until students are able to finish in complete silence.


STEP 1: Launch-A-Character

  • Now, let us all prepare for take off. Here is the Launch Pass.
    • Pull up colored map of the world.
    • Q:  What are some places around the world that you would like to visit?
    • Q:  What does the word “immigrant” mean? 
      • [A: “a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign place.”]
  • People began arriving in Utah 10,000 years ago. All people in the world, or their ancestors, have migrated, or immigrated, to the location they now live. This is similar to what we are doing today because we need to travel to a new planet to find a new place to live.
  • If we’re going on a mission into space, we’ll need a spaceship.
  • The NASA space program has approved a small spaceship from Utah, but to keep track of it from all of the other ships, they assigned our ship a specific shape.
    • Pass out handout 
    • Q: What is this shape? [show outline of Utah State]
  • Explain that each multi-colored shape represents people (or their ancestors) from different countries that are currently living in UT. 
    • Q:  Does anyone here want to share a connection to any of these countries?
  • We are now going to board our ship. Find a place in the room to sit and prepare your seat belt check!
  • To prepare for our launch we are going to our create characters that are immigrating into space.
  • As a class fill out each question one by one starting with 10. During the questions allow the students to explore their characters by embodying them physically. EX:
    • At #9:
      • Q:  Who remembers from last week what the word “character” means?
      • Q:  What are some physical character traits?
      • Side Coaching Question:  How does your character walk?
      • Side Coaching Question:  What does your character’s voice sound like?
      • [Also have a few students share example(s) of ones they chose.]
    • At #8:
      • Q:  What are some other characteristics?
      • [Also have a few students share example(s) of ones they chose.]
    • At #6:
      • Q:  What are some reasons your character would want to go on the mission?
    • At #5:
  • Q: How does your character feel about going on the mission?
    • At #3:
      •  Brainstorm about the contents of an immigrant’s trunk, and then discuss what individuals today would pack if they were moving and had limited space. Consider the following reasons for bringing certain items:
        • to remind someone of home to remind someone of their family
        • to entertain someone on a trip
        • to be useful
        • to tell other people about who someone is.
      • Ask if any students want to tell about something special from their family’s past (parents, grandparents, etc.) or other special item their character wants to bring and why.
      • Have students guess what the pantomimed object is. (The student may need to try a different way to show it)
      • Side Coaching Question:  How heavy is your character’s object?
  • Now that we have finished the count down it is time to head to the new planet. As a class we are going to do a count down! Ready? Seat belt check! 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- Blast off!


ASSESSMENT(s): Preparations for Landing. Empathy and Treatment to Immigrants

Step 3: Preparations for Landing Empathy and Treatment to Immigrants

  • We have almost arrived at the new planet.
  • Ask the students the following questions and scenarios as you are traveling to the planet.
    • Q: How do you want the people on this new planet to treat you and your shipmates?
  • Oh no! A meteor shower has ripped a Utah shaped hole in the floor of our spacecraft!
    • We must get rid of extra weight on the ship. Everyone must give up their one object from Earth.
      • Q: How does it feel to not even have their favorite object? 
  • We must cover the holes in the ship. Have them hold their pieces of paper over their heads to cover the imaginary holes.
  • We “land” safely on this new planet. Let’s all carefully get of the ship and explore the new planet.
    • Q: Are there people already living there? How do you treat them? How do they treat you?
  • Invite students to sit ack on their dots. Take off Captain Casey hat. Invite students to talk about the experience they just had and how it might compare to those who immigrate to Utah.
    • Q: How did you feel coming to the new planet?
    • Q: How do you think the people from the countries on your worksheet  feel about having to leave their home and many of their possessions?
    • Q: How do the people from these countries hope they and their family and friends are treated when they arrive in Utah?
    • Q: How does what we did in our drama class today help us in other parts of our life? 
  • Please pass your character sheets up to the front. We may be using these during this month as we explore new cultures.
  • I’ll dismiss colored dot rows that are on task … to go explore this new world and treat others with respect.