Unit Overview


This senior Dramatic Arts unit is designed as an introduction to the issues of Wealth and Poverty and explores personal assumptions about the these ideas using improvisation and in-role techniques. Students explore a variety of assumptions about the make-up of wealth/poverty and apply their understandings using dramatic techniques to make personal connections to their own futures. A focus on compassionate awareness and critical thinking leads students to explore how financial factors can and will play on their own futures and to re-envision their own assumptions and beliefs about wealth and poverty. This introductory unit encourages a diverse approach through a variety of drama courses by addressing specific and overall expectations unique to each course.


Students use techniques of self-reflection, in-role writing, improvisation, prepared improvisation, and group discussion to explore issues of wealth and poverty using the lens of Financial Literacy. Students produce a final improvisation scene exploring their own futures, based on provided scenarios depicting a variety of social and financial status factors.

Unit Guiding Questions

What is poverty?
What is wealth?
What is the connection between happiness and poverty/wealth?
How do poverty and wealth look, sound, taste, smell and feel?
What do I hope my future will hold?
What financial choices in life will I have control over?
What financial factors of life will I not have control over?
How will I deal with financial choices over which I have no control?
How will financial choices and factors affect my future?
What are my assumptions of power, wealth, poverty, and happiness?
How can my assumptions be changed about power, wealth, poverty and happiness?

Assessment and Evaluation

Assessment for Learning

Lesson 1 - Teacher observation, Group discussion, Review of student exit cards
Lesson 2 - Teacher observation, Group discussion, Oral questioning

Assessment as Learning

Lesson 1 - Group discussion, Brainstorming, Use of word wall, Creative application through tableaux and choral speaking/chanting, Peer feedback of performances, Exit card writing
Lesson 2 - Group discussion, Peer feedback of performances, Journal writing
Lesson 3 - Group discussion, Peer feedback of performances, Exit card review and rewrite

Assessment of Learning

Lesson 3 - Observation, Group discussion, BLM #2 Prepared Improvisation Rubric 


Lesson 1 - Assumptions

Students explore their own and others’ beliefs about wealth and poverty. By questioning the nature of poverty, students consider their own beliefs, biases and assumptions.

Lesson 2 - Status and Power

Students work with concepts of status and power using improvisation techniques. Students explore how clothing acts as a metaphor for modern society’s power imbalances and access to status.

Lesson 3 - Into the Future

Students reflect on the question “What is my tomorrow?” They consider how their futures can be altered by factors including poverty, wealth, power and control. Students use improvisation and role play strategies to reconsider their own beliefs, biases and assumptions from lesson one.