Unit Overview


Students in grades 9 and 10 will use the elements of drama to explore issues connected to Financial Literacy. Through individual, small group and whole class activities, students will understand that Drama can be used to investigate real life issues, develop empathy, and find solutions to problems in their own lives, their community and the world. These lessons can be used as an introduction to career planning (Guidance), household budgeting (Family Studies) and current events (History) or can be part of a larger unit on writing and planning for life after high school.


In these two lessons, students will investigate their relationship to finance - its importance in their lives, and their role when a financial crisis occurs. Using strategies such as role play, conducting voices, and planned improvisation, students will critically examine the flow of money in and out of their lives and the impact of their financial decisions on themselves and others. Students will explore a financial set back or crisis from multiple perspectives to deepen their understanding of the issues, develop empathy, examine cause and effect as it refers to money (e.g., cause: I bought a new X-box; effect: I can’t pay for guitar lessons), and build problem-solving skills.

A Note on Safety: It is important when exploring topics of a sensitive nature (such as financial hardship) to know your students and establish a safe environment for learning. Be aware that some students may be experiencing these issues in their real life. Avoid forcing personal disclosures and establish distancing techniques to establish safety in role (the right to pass, the freedom to choose characters and scenarios that are comfortable for them to explore).

Unit Guiding Questions

How can I use drama techniques to help me explore and understand a critical issue?
How can I build empathy for others through drama?
Why do you need to have money?
Is it necessary for adolescents to hold jobs?
What would happen if the primary breadwinner in someone's household lost their job?
How can I demonstrate cause and effect with respect to finance?
How challenging is it to find employment?
What is my financial responsibility to myself and those around me?
What is my personal relationship to money?

Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment for Learning

Lesson 1: Anticipation Guide, Self/Peer Reflection, Teacher feedback, Whole class discussion
Lesson 2: Teacher/Student Feedback, Appreciation Circle, Whole class discussion

Assessment as Learning

Lesson 1: Inner and Outer Circle, Student debriefing of the drama process, Teacher/Peer feedback
Lesson 2: Review of Anticipation Guide, Appreciation Circle

Assessment of Learning

Lesson 1: Writing in Role Rubric CODE resource
Lesson 2: BLM #6 Prepared Improvisation Checklist, Writing in Role Rubric CODE resource, Performing in Role Rubric CODE resource


Lesson 1 - Why Can’t I Have This?

Students will explore, through role play, the impact of a change in a family’s financial situation. This exploration will allow students to analyse the difference between wants and needs, and examine their role in realigning their wants and needs with the present situation. The drama will ask students to examine their own biases towards wealth and poverty and to access multiple perspectives within a family in a financial crisis.

Lesson 2 - What Happens Now?

Students will link their attitudes and ideas about financial responsibility to real life events that are catalysts for financial crisis. Through conducting voices in role, monologuing and role-playing, students will look for hope in seemingly bleak situations, and investigate their personal role in the issue. Students will examine both the cause of financial hardship and the ripple effect of the event throughout the community and the world.