Shakespearean Design Technology

This half term at school we have been learning about Shakespeare. We have been trying to make this as cross-curricular as possible so we’ve studied several of his plays in Literacy which the children have coped surprisingly well with (their favourite lesson was on creating Shakespeare-style insults using this) and they have now moved on to writing their own plays; either comedy, tragedy or history (although I get the feeling we’ll have a few mixed too!).

In order to perform their plays the children have been given the task of creating a ‘box’ theatre with scenery and puppets ready to perform to other classes in the school during the last week of this half term. This is the Art and Design Technology element to the curriculum and I’ve decided we’re doing it properly as the children (aged 10 and 11) have never even used a saw or glue gun before.

When the children were told that they would be making ‘box’ theatres most of them immediately said, “Ok, who’s got a box at home they can bring?’. Where’s the design element in that?

I told them that if any of them brought a cardboard box I would jump on it and they could see what they could do with it from that state. We talked about using other materials such as wood and how to create joints and strengthen corners etc. We came up with a basic frame design as a class and they’ve now created their designs. The most interesting point (to me anyway) is that many of their designs are 2 dimensional. When I asked them how they thought their theatre would stand up many of them couldn’t get their head around the fact that if they just make a square frame out of wood that it won’t just stand up on its own. However, I’ve decided I am going to step back and let them learn for themselves. I’m hoping they can problem solve their way to a solution.

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