Drama and learning science: an empty space?

01 Jul 2020

Constructivist teaching methods such as using drama have been promoted as productive ways of learning, especially in science. Specifically, role plays, using given roles or simulated and improvised enactments, are claimed to improve learning of concepts, understanding the nature of science and appreciation of science?s relationship with society (?degaard 2001, Unpublished Dr. scient., Dis- sertation, University of Oslo). So far, theorisation of drama in learning, at least in science, has been lacking and no attempt has been made to integrate drama theory in science education with that of theatre. This article draws on Peter Brook?s notion of the theatre as the ?empty space? (Brook 1968, The empty space, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books) to provide a new theoretical model acting as a lens through which drama activities used to teach science can be better understood and researched. An example of a physical role play is used to ground the theory. The paper concludes by suggesting areas for further research.