Science and Drama may seem like odd bedfellows yet I have found that giving students the freedom to create their own skits in science class both increases interest level for many students and helps to facilitate better comprehension of the material.
It is ironic that this blog is something that I am posting as I don't have any acting bent at all, but have turned to this approach in class and have found student engagement increases as a result. This approach is multi-modal and employs kinesthetic as well visual and auditory modalities.
There are likely many other ways to utilize drama in class but I will share the approach I have taken. Please feel free to comment with additional ideas in the coment section after the blog.
Instructions for the assignment
Students should be assigned a group to work with in order to write and perform a skit. I have found this tactic particularly useful in the beginning of the year when students are not well acquainted with each other. It serves a double function as an ice breaker and introduction or review of science content.
I recommend giving general guidelines for the skit, but giving the students a great degree of freedom beyond these general instructions. Students are often more creative than they expect to be.
Encouraging the reluctant actor
I have found that offering to participate myself with the group that is most reluctant to complete this assignment has been a successful manner in which to draw the group out. If you have a teaching assistant, he/she could partcipate with one group while you participate with another group. Determine which groups are most independent and make decisions accordingly.
This activity incorporates this tactic to instruction about lab safety: Lab Safety Rules Skit.