Conflict in All My Sons: From Image To Scene

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  • Create Date June 20, 2023
  • Last Updated June 20, 2023

Conflict in All My Sons: From Image To Scene

Created by Philip Smith

Brief Description

Students  experience conflict and cooperation by re-doing scenes from the play All My Sons, by Arthur Miller


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to show their understanding of the conflicts of the characters in All my Sons (AMS).


Lead-in / Preparation / Prerequisite Knowledge

Students have read the play.


Estimated Class-Time Required

90 minutes


Description of Activities


The teacher explains the lesson will be about learning how to:

  • use new vocabulary in context
  • work in collaboration with others
  • further understanding of conflict and motivation in All My Sons


Lead-in games (Purpose: to put the students into a curious and open frame of mind. Duration: one minute for each game.)


“Yes, and...”

Teacher puts students into pairs.

Rule: A makes a suggestion. B accepts. 


A: Please come in.

B: Yes, and I’ll sit down.

A: Show me your work.

B: Yes, and I’ll sing a song, too.



Brief feedback (focus: cooperation)


“Yes, but...”

Rule: A makes a suggestion. B accepts and adds information. A one-minute dialogue.


A: “Please come in.” 

B: “Yes, but the chairs are all wet with fresh paint / Yes, but I’m afraid of you / Yes, but the lights are off”



Brief feedback (Teacher may mention that the word “but” introduces the theme of conflict. However, the actors’ desire is to work together.)



A takes something of value from B

B seeks to persuade A to return the person or thing.


A: I have taken your son.

B: (bursts into tears) My son! My life! Is he safe? 



Brief feedback (methods of persuasion: beg, threaten, charm, inform, etc.)


The teacher plays video clip (3’15”).

Students note what they think the girl is doing.

The teacher proposes the idea of negotiation; and gathers definitions and examples from students’ personal lives.

(Def: to try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion)


PART ONE: Crystallize 

The teacher presents the students with the images from the play All My Sons. 

The teacher briefly elicits the possible circumstances of the moments represented to activate prior knowledge (2’)

The teacher announces the following role-play exercise in the form of slides or paper cards:


  1. Discuss and agree on 
  • ONE photograph
  • the emotion and motivation of each character
  • the conflict

2. Choose your parts 

  • TWO actors (who improvise the script)
  • ONE scriptwriter (who writes and edits the script)
  • ONE director (who frames the piece with the directions, “Play!”, and “Cut!”)
  • and ONE producer (who keeps the time - fifteen minutes - and records the product)
  1. Improvise, script, and record the scene
  1. Sum up 
  1. Return to the classroom.


The teacher divides students into groups A, B, C, etc. 

FIVE students per group.

Teacher issues cards/shows slides



Group A presents.

EXAMPLE (based on image, p. 1)

KATE: George has been in Columbus all morning, visiting Steve. He wants to see Annie.

JOE: What for?

KATE: He’s a lawyer now.

JOE: So what?


The teacher gathers feedback on the conversation.

Repeat with remaining groups.


PART TWO: Understand / Inquire / Persuade

Review key vocabulary

Repeat the whole exercise. However, this time, the actors feed the key vocabulary into the script and respond accordingly.



KATE: George has been in Columbus all morning, visiting Steve. He wants to see Annie.

JOE: What is on your mind, Kate?

KATE: Oh, Joe, I’m worried for us. George is a lawyer now. Perhaps he wants to harm us.

JOE: Could you say more about that?

KATE: Well, Joe, you know how your betrayal of your partner in the business led to his conviction and the break-up of the family? I suspect that George now wants revenge!

JOE: So, you feel that George won’t stop until I am convicted? What do you believe is the best way forward?

KATE: We will have to be very careful with George. Yes...we’ll remind him of old times when everything was just fine.

JOE: Yes, good idea, Kate. Let’s do that! 


The teacher may 

  • gather what action occurs prior to and after the presented scene.
  • gather how a scene reminds them of their own lives.


Key Vocabulary / Phrases

What is on your mind? (explore)

Could you say more about (-)? (clarify)

How has this affected you and your family? (assess impact)

So, you feel that... (acknowledge)

What do you believe is the best way forward? (solution)




The teacher and students view or listen to the recordings of the pieces.

The teacher summarises learning points.




Students complete the sentence in writing, “Next time, we will be sure to...”


How was the lesson today? Students respond by completing an acrostic poem to the acronym AMS. 




Little girl negotiating:

The teacher makes printed copies of the Image bank (F2F class) 

The teacher makes a slide or cards with the directions of the role-play.




Firstly, it’s important to create an atmosphere of acceptance and respect. 

Secondly, PART TWO could be a source of amusement. 

Thirdly, I haven’t tried this out yet. Please let me know how it goes!


Attached Files

Conflict In AMS _ Role-play directions.docx.pdfDownload