Real and Ideal Images

Number of Players


What Is It and Why Use It?

Real and Ideal Images asks a group of students to build an image with bodies of a real challenge or problem and an image of the ideal solution, along with the images of change between. This activity supports students’ abilities to understand the complexity of solving problems within real circumstances and provides a way to dialogue about multiple solutions verbally and physically. 


Invite students to sit in front an open space. Review the elements of an effective frozen image–captures a moment in action using the body and face, strong point of view, tells a story, uses levels, etc. Then, offer a prompt for the group to explore: What does bullying look like at our school? Once the prompt is established, the group can verbally dialogue about ideas as a full group or in small groups and then make an image based on the thinking; or, they can make an image spontaneously, using their bodies to dialogue together through an improvised response. Whatever the process, the group creates a frozen picture, which represents their expression of the “real” problem. Explore the “real” problem frozen pictures with the group using the DAR reflection. Select a representative “real” problem image that the group would like to explore further. Ask:  What would it look like if we could wave a magic wand and the problem/s presented in this image are solved? The group works to transform the “real” problem image into new image of the “ideal” solution. Explore the new image and discuss the changes. Next, ask: So, how do we move from the real problem to the ideal solution in this image sequence? Invite students to construct 2-3 images that could live between the “real” problem and the “ideal” solution. This final exploration can be done as a full group, or smaller groups can work independently to create their own “images of change” as way to investigate multiple solutions. To conclude, view the full sequence of all of the images, starting with the “real,” moving through the images of change, and ending with the “ideal.” 

  • What were the “real” issues our work explored today?
  • What outside forces (societal or individual) shape “real” issues? Who or what helped to make change in our exploration?
  • What makes change in our world? How do we become agents for personal or collective change?
Possible Side-Coaching
  • Is this an authentic representation of the real problem? If not how can we make it more real?
  • How does the character get from the real problem to the ideal solution? What has to change? What actions might the character have to take? What other people might be a part of the solution? 
Possible Variations/Applications


  • Allow some students to be the clay while others sculpt the group into images (see Sculptor/Clay).
  • Science: Have students create real and ideal images linked to environmental issues, and create an image in the middle that represents how we as a society might transition from the real environmental situation to the ideal environmental situation.
  • Reading/Writing or Social Studies: Have students explore themes from literature or history.
Source Citations

Augusto Boal