Number of Players
  • Varies
What Is It and Why Use It?

The Exploration/Adventure dilemma invites all students to step into characters who must make a decision about whether to embark on a larger journey to or exploration of a new place. It focuses on the reasons that people and societies move and expand (e.g., war, health, economics, curiosity, food, resources, shelter, etc.) and the impact of human exploration and expansion on those who go, those who stay, and those whose lands are taken by the newly arrived explorers and colonizers.


Content and character preparation:

In this dramatic dilemma, students choose a character that might choose to attend a recruitment meeting about moving to a new place. To prepare, give students time to review related academic vocabulary, to research, and to consider who might have an opinion about the topic being introduced, and/or develop the physical/vocal performance of their character.  It’s often helpful for students to choose a name, a profession, and a specific reason why they might choose to go on this adventure/to this new land prior to beginning the drama work. Choose a facilitator role to play in the recruitment meeting that is embedded in the world of the story. It can be useful to become person with a medium amount of power, but limited decision-making ability, who offers information (both positive and negative) about the opportunity and works to bring out multiple viewpoints on the choice whether to go or stay.



Although there are multiple ways to begin this strategy a particularly engaging way to start is to use an Artifact, e.g., a poster hung in the town square with information about the opportunity. This prop offers a simple way to introduce and establish background information about who is being recruited to move/travel to a new place and why. Once the question/story is introduced, brainstorm a list of people who might respond to the invitation to come to this meeting because they want or need to leave or perhaps they want to stop the trip from happening. Invite students to pick a character from the generated list or make up another idea; ask them to create a character profession, a name, and to generate specific reasons for coming to the meeting. Select a role that allows you to give information about the opportunity but to remain neutral to students’ characters’ decisions. Everyone steps into role together. Welcome students in role and explain why you’ve brought them together.  Share information about the benefits and challenges of the opportunity. Invite students to ask questions and to share information about who they are and why they are considering joining the Exploration/Adventure. Work to develop a multi-faceted understanding of the larger issues that shape why a group might choose to move to a new place. The session typically ends with a vote being taken where each individual decides whether or not to explore/go on the adventure.

  • What did we learn about this exploration opportunity?
  • Why did people in our community want to go? Why did they want to stay?
  • How does this experience relate to other times in history when a group of people has made a decision to go to a new land? Who else is impacted by decisions made by one group to explore another groups’ land? 
Possible Side-Coaching
  • For this particular strategy, side-coaching often occurs “in role” – meaning the teacher might ask questions or prompt further inquiry as they are in role as a character. For example:
  • What brought you to this meeting today? What are some of the reasons you decided to attend this meeting? 
  • Why do you want to go on this adventure? 
  • Are there any questions or concerns you have before we set out?
Possible Variations/Applications
  • Science or Social Studies: Use this strategy to explore famous expeditions. Students research the expeditions and step into role as characters that either were a part or might have been a part of the expedition/research team. 
  • Reading/Writing: To explore the children’s book The Rainbow Goblins, have students step into role as the different rainbow color goblins that meet to decide whether or not to make the long journey to the land of the Rainbow. 
  • Math or History: To explore Ancient Greece and first Olympics, have students use graph paper to chart a course from their Greek city-state to Athens. They calculate the distance and estimate how long it would take each team to travel to the first Olympic games.
Source Citations