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Post-Show Classroom Activity

Two people jumping and shouting onstage. They are wearing black robes with silver metallic fringe.
Photo of Danielle Davis and Cage Sebastian Pierre by Michael Brosilow.

Overlay a modern family onto Antigone’s family tree, embellishing as you go! This activity invites invention with family trees, before guiding students to make a creative project based on their ideas. 

Though written here for classroom use, this activity may be enjoyed by learners of all ages.

Modern Family Activity

  • Activity Preparation
    • Supplies
    • Set-Up
      • *Students will choose their preferred method of creative exploration in Step 7, which they will then present to their peers in Step 9. Read over this list prior to class to ensure that any additional supplies necessary are available for students, such as art supplies, computers, etc. 
      • If some students would benefit from a smaller menu of choices in Step 7, consider narrowing the list and only providing a few options. 
      • The activity suggests that students present their work to a small group in Step 9. Consider the unique needs of your class when determining group size, makeup, and transition procedures between presentations. Alternatively, consider having students present their ideas to the whole class. 
  • This activity will take approximately 85 95 minutes.

  • Learning Sequence
    1. Display Antigone’s family tree, or direct students to look at it on their handout. As desired, review the key with students, or have a student recap the messy relationships between these characters for the class. If students are not familiar with the format and structure of family trees, consider reviewing the basics—i.e. the connection between spouses, how children branch off from parents, etc. (~5 minutes)
    2. Ask: Is there another family—real or fictional—that resembles the level of drama, conflict, or destruction around Antigone’s family? Give students an opportunity to turn and talk, or share aloud with the class. 
      • If students are having a difficult time thinking of families like Antigone’s, consider suggesting ones such as the Sacklers, the Kardashian-Jenners, the Kennedys, the Von Erich family, or the British Royal family. (~8 minutes) 
    3. Tell students that, in this activity, they will be blending the story of Antigone’s family with inspiration from a real or fictional family from modern times. Note that “modern” should be taken loosely; for this activity, it could mean anything within the last several hundred years. (~1 minute)
    4. Students may choose to keep the specifics of Antigone’s family tree as close as possible to their modern recasting. However, remind them that if they are mapping Antigone’s family tree onto a modern fictional or real-life family, it is impossible for there to be an exact match. The goal is for students to find overlapping elements with their chosen “modern” family and then invent the rest. If students need a moment more to brainstorm, allow them to do so. At this point, everyone should have selected the family they are interested in mapping onto Antigone’s. (~5 minutes)
    5. Direct students to their copies of the Modern Family handout. Have them write the name of their selected modern family above the words “Antigone’s Family Tree.” They may wish to cross the original title out if they find it distracting. (~2 minutes) 
    6. Instruct students to display or share these steps in a manner that suits the learning styles of the class (i.e. reading each step aloud, providing one at a time, allowing students to work through each at their own pace, etc.). (~20 minutes)
      • Map onto the people with easily identifiable parallels.
        • With your modern family in mind, add names to the family tree to replace the people listed there. 
      • Map onto the easily corresponding outcomes or relationships.
        • Who died? Survived? Married? Divorced? Annotate the family tree to include these details. 
      • Invent additional people or characters.
        • Time to get creative! Where there are Antigone family members but no direct match in your selected modern family, invent new people.
        • You may also choose to eliminate a few people from the original family tree, but lean into your creativity first by inventing.
      • Invent new outcomes and relationships.
        • With your brand-new characters in mind, add some new annotations to the family tree. Out of these people, who dies and who lives? Who marries and who divorces? Who betrays and who gets betrayed? Who ends up in power? 
      • Modify, keep, or remove remaining details.
        • Is anything left from the original family tree that did not fit and that you would like to change? 
        • Add additional annotations as you and your imagination see fit!
      • Consider the context.
        • Make a note somewhere on your family tree of additional context surrounding this newly mapped family. 
        • Where in the world do they live? What is their industry or field of work? What era/decade are they alive? Instead of a war for thieves what sort of conflict in this family’s society might exist?
      • Note: An example of the first two steps in this process has been included on the handout. It demonstrates how students may wish to annotate and add to the family tree with their selected modern family. 
    7. Once students have imagined the totality of their modified modern family, prompt them to consider their preferred method of further creative exploration and how they would best like to present their ideas. The goal is for students to engage in a creative process around some aspect of this family tree, and then share the outcome with their peers (either in groups or to the whole class). Offer these options for creative exploration, but remind students that they may choose something that is not on this list. (~5 minutes)
      • A slideshow “lookbook” explaining the family, their traits, and their conflicts 
      • A comic strip detailing a dramatic incident within the family 
      • An illustration of the most powerful member of the family 
      • A scripted scene between two characters in the play (perhaps directly inspired by a scene from Antigone
      • A short story about the one or more members of the family 
      • A social media or dating profile for a character 
      • A poem from the point of view of one character 
      • A journal entry from the point of view of one character 
    8. Once students have a moment to consider their preferred choice, release them to begin working. (~20 — 30 minutes) 
    9. After students have completed the creative expression of their modern family, prepare them to present their work in small groups. Inform students of how much time each individual will have to share before cueing the next person to begin. (~20 minutes)

  • This activity addresses the following standards:
    • Illinois Arts Learning Standards
      • Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
      • Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
      • Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
    • Common Core State Standards
      • CCSS.ELA.W3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
      • CCSS.ELA.W9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • CCSS.ELA.SL1 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Posted on January 31, 2024 in Learning Guides, Productions

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