Learning Description

Students will explore the life cycle of plants and animals by assuming the roles of various plants and animals in the cycle. Students will use tableau to dramatize their place in the life cycle. After the students share their tableaus, they will write a monologue from the point of view of their plant/animal.


Learning Targets


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"I Can" Statements

“I Can…”

  • I can use tableau to explore the life cycle of an animal or plant.

  • I can demonstrate the life cycle of animals or plants through tableau.

Essential Questions

  • How can tableau be used to explore the life cycle of an animal or plant?

  • How can I demonstrate the life cycle of animals or plants through tableau?


Georgia Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 2:

S2L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the life cycles of different living organisms


Arts Standards

Grade 2

TA2.CR.1 Organize, design, and refine theatrical work. a. Use imagination to create characters. b. Contribute and collaborate in planning a theatre experience.

TA2.CR.2 Develop scripts through theatrical techniques.

TA2.PR.1 Act by communicating and sustaining roles in formal and informal environments.




South Carolina Standards

Curriculum Standards

Grade 3

3-LS1-1. Develop and use models to describe how organisms change in predictable patterns during their unique and diverse life cycles.


Arts Standards

T.CR NL.1 I can identify basic story elements in simple stories, plays and scripts (e.g. plot, character, setting, theme, etc.).

T.CR NL.1.2 I can identify basic character qualities from a prompt.

T.P NL.3 I can use body and voice to communicate character traits and emotions in a guided drama experience.

T.P NL.3.3 I can participate collaboratively in guided drama experiences.



Key Vocabulary

Content Vocabulary

  • Life cycle - The sequential stages of the development and growth that an organism undergoes throughout its existence 
  • Sequence - A series of steps or events that follows a specific order
  • Mammal -  An animal that is warm-blooded, has hair or fur, and gives birth to live offspring 
  • Amphibian - A cold-blooded animal that can live both in and out of water. It usually starts as an egg in the water, hatches into a tadpole with a tail, and transforms into an adult with legs.
  • Insect - A class of invertebrate animals characterized by having a segmented body divided into three distinct regions: head, thorax, and abdomen 
  • Organisms - A living thing, such as a plant or animal
  • Plant - An organism that makes its own food using sunlight, a process called photosynthesis. It usually has roots, stems, and leaves.

Arts Vocabulary

  • Tableau - A form of visual representation and artistic expression where individuals or objects are carefully arranged and posed to convey a specific scene, narrative, or concept
  • Character - A fictional person or creature in a story that has their own personality, feelings, and actions
  • Monologue - An uninterrupted speech delivered by a single character. It is a dramatic form of expression where the character expresses their thoughts, emotions, or experiences to the audience.



    • Sticky notes
    • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle or a similar book that identifies the stages of the life cycle of a plant or animal



    Instructional Design

    Opening/Activating Strategy

    • Read the book The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle or a similar book that demonstrates the stages of the life cycle of a plant or animal.
    • Ask students to identify the stages of the life cycle as you read the book. 
    • Ask students to think about what body positions and facial expressions they would use to represent different stages. Model what this would look like for the beginning of the life cycle. Ask students to take turns sharing their ideas throughout the reading of the book.


    Work Session

      • Show students an example of a tableau. Tell students that they will be creating a tableau in small groups that demonstrates the life cycle of a plant or animal.
      • Place students in small groups. Assign each group a life cycle of a plant or animal.
      • Working in their groups, students should create a tableau that represents the different stages of the life cycle of their assigned animal or plant.
      • Each member of the group should represent one stage so that all stages of the life cycle are represented. 
        • Explain that in the tableau, each student should create a character out of his or her assigned stage.
        • Encourage students to focus on the positioning of their body and their facial expression to demonstrate their stages.
      • Students will take turns presenting their tableaus without identifying their plant or animal to the audience. 
        • While each group is presenting, ask the students in the audience: 
          • Which animal or plant do they think their classmates are portraying?
          • How do the expressions and body language of the tableau support their conclusion? 
          • How did the animal or plant change from the beginning of the sequence to the end?
          • What happened between each stage?
          • What happens when the cycle gets to the end?


      Closing Reflection

      • Students should create a monologue taking on the point of view of their animal or plant in the stage of the cycle assigned to them. Allow students who wish to share, time to share.



      Teacher will assess understanding through class discussion, group discussion, reflection questions, observation, class reflections/discussions, and tableaus.





      • Students can explain and identify a tableau.
      • Students can use their bodies and facial expressions to create a character that accurately represents the stage of their life cycle.
      • Students can correctly order themselves in the sequence of their life cycle.
      • Students can write a monologue from the point of view of their stage of the life cycle.







      • Each student in the group will write the stage of their life cycle on a sticky note. They will then write a list of clues about their life cycle that when examined correctly should inform the reader about what life cycle is on the sticky note. 
      • The sticky note should be placed on the backs of students in a new group.
      • Students can ask the original group questions about their life cycle.
      • Once the students have an idea of which animal or plant and which stage in the life cycle, students should get in line where they think they will go in the life cycle.

      For example, the students with the life cycle of a butterfly should be in this order: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. 

      Remediation: Pair students who represent the same stage of the same type of life cycle together to create a character that represents their stage of the life cycle.



      Resources/Other Sources

      *This integrated lesson provides differentiated ideas and activities for educators that are aligned to a sampling of standards. Standards referenced at the time of publishing may differ based on each state’s adoption of new standards.

      Ideas contributed by: Author unknown. Updated by Ashley Bailey Katy Betts.

      Revised and copyright:  August 2024 @ ArtsNOW