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Matilda's World

Lesson:  Matilda’s World

Author:  Carly Masters

Lesson Objective:Students will learn how to use their imaginations by creating and exploring the world of the book Matilda by Roald Dahl.

National Standards:

TH:Cr1.1.4. a. Articulate the visual details of imagined worlds, and improvised stories that support the given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.


A hat

A table or blocks for students to hide behind during soundtracking

Open space

Getting in role:

I want each of you to take on the role of matilda in the morning. So I want everyone to go to sleep in your imaginary bed and when you hear a rooster crow, I want you to wake up as Matilda, and act as you think that she would act. (Make crow noise) You are now Matilda. What does your room look like? Is it small? What color are the walls? What does it smell like in there? Do you keep it clean? What do you do when you get out of bed? Do you go brush your teeth? Do you put on your clothes? Let’s pack our backpack. What books are you reading right now? How heavy is your backpack? Okay now lets open the door to go down stairs. WAIT NO SHHH STOP!! If mom and dad see you with a backpack they will take your books away! Dad will call you stupid and make you stay home to clean up after him and watch tv. They can’t know you are sneaking out to go to the library… How are we going to sneak out of the house so that mom and dad don’t see us? Let’s sneak down the stairs and into the hall, oh there is a window in there that we can climb out of! Let’s go there Hurry hurry run down the hall to the bathroom, turn the handle, but be really quiet because I think I hear him coming and (put on hat to get in role as the father) “ Ahh ah ahh… BUSTED. Did you think I wouldn’t catch you sneaking out to go read your STUPID BOOKS?? What do you think you’re smarter than all of us. Uh uh. No missy, I am locking you in your room for the rest of the day. Maybe if your lucky I will slide some peanuts under the door later.”

Okay lets come out of role

What is Matilda’s home like?

What is her family like?

What did Matilda’s dad do when he caught her going to the library?

How do you think she is feeling right now?

Frozen Tableaus:

  • Matilda’s family is made up of four people: Her dad, mom, brother Mike, and Matilda herself. What are some things we know about Matilda’s dad? (he is mean to matilda, hates books, and is a lying car salesman) What do we know about Matilda’s mother? (She is very concerned with how she looks, she completely ignores matilda, and is not a very good parent) What do we know about Matilda’s brother Mike? (he is not very intelligent, he doesn’t care about Matilda)
  • I would like everyone to find their own space in the room. Now the way Matilda views her family, helps to create the way that Matilda sees the world around her. So we are going to go through each of the members of her family and use our bodies (not our words) to create frozen pictures to represent how Matilda sees that member of her family.
    • Lets start with her Dad. I want everyone to make a frozen picture of Matilda’s dad and show how he acts towards Matilda. (Side coaching to encourage levels, facial expressions, and telling a story).
    • Now lets try the Mom, lets make a frozen picture to represent Matilda’s mom.
    • Great now lets see a frozen picture of how Matilda’s brother treats her.
  • Okay now I would like 3 volunteers to come represent Matilda’s family. Everyone else can sit down. Assign each volunteer a member of the Wormwood family. Okay now we are going to put your pictures together to see a big giant picture of what Matilda’s family life is like.


What did you learn about the family through these frozen pictures? How did you use your body to show Matilda’s family dynamics?


Now, as you learned in your reading, Matilda decided to play some pretty funny pranks on her mean parents. Can anyone tell me what some of those pranks were?

  • We are going to split up into two groups and I am going to have one of you create background noises for the scenes where matilda glues Mr. Wormwood’s hat to his head, and the scene where she dies his hair blonde. I want you to open your books to these scenes with your group and decide what background noises you can make as it is being read.
    • For example, when Matilda unscrews her father’s oil of violets and pours it down the drain you can make the noises that the bottle would make being unscrewed and poured out.

Be creative, and feel free to use any objects around the room that you think would help to create the right sound atmosphere for the world of the play.

  • I will give you some time to work on it and then I will read each of the scenes aloud and each group can perform their background sounds along with me.

(Hat glue scene page: 30, Hair dye scene page: 58)

Debrief of Soundtracking:

What different things did you do to create the sounds in the story? Did you use your hands? Did you use any other object? How did the sounds you made help to create the world of the story.