Bringing Heroes to Life on Stage: A Theater Unit Plan

by Kimberly Kenna, The MY HERO Project
Written By
Kimberly Kenna, The MY HERO Project

Grade Level
5-8, 9-12+

Arts - Theater, English/Language Arts

This lesson can be linked to many social studies themes, whether it’s Civil war heroes, ancient Greek heroes, family or community heroes. Students research, take notes about and discuss heroes and heroism. From this knowledge base they will write historical fiction scripts depicting heroes and heroism. Students learn that there are many kinds of heroes, that they existed from the earliest times, and that the notion of a hero is often different depending upon the culture and/or the person portraying the hero. By examining heroes, students become aware of the value of inspiration and legacy, and how they can personally make a difference in their own world. Please note that this project can be compacted into fewer lessons or expanded to include more depth of investigation depending upon the age and interests of your students and your own time constraints.


Students will:
  • Use technology to do research
  • Take notes, organize them and incorporate them into their scriptwriting
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of heroes, both past and present, and how they reflect their culture at the time
  • Work cooperatively in a group to brainstorm, write, and edit a script
  • Work cooperatively in a group to organize, plan and perform a play
  • Understand how sound, music, lighting, props, costumes and movement portray what’s being expressed in the text
Note: I do not have a background in theater; I am an elementary school teacher who has a passion for theater. This is a rewarding project for both students and teachers so I encourage you to give it a go even if you have no experience using drama in your classroom! You can start off with simple monologues or dialogues or skits, and then move on to a full-fledged play. Glance at the books and websites listed in the Resources section. Basically, the teacher facilitates the project and the kids carry it out…usually to a level that was quite unexpected!