8th Grade Invisible Forces

Invisible Forces is a storytelling program meant to illuminate the invisible forces which shape our culture, our world, and our life. From internal struggles like fear, anxiety, hate, or even the “simple” desire to keep what you have all the way to systemic issues like racism, sexism, gentrification, or the interconnectedness suggested by the butterfly effect, there are invisible forces that play silent roles in our stories all the time. As characters, settings, plot points, and other story elements, these forces gain their power by staying invisible. In this program, however, we’ll tell and retell stories in ways that shed light on those invisible story elements, giving them visible roles in our stories to try and understand their impact on our stories’ ends.

Check out our Invisible Forces projects here:

Final Projects

Use the arrow keys or click the pointers in the lower right
to see the slideshows and other materials we used during this program.

Session 1

A River of Life

Write down at least 10 events that made you who you are, and when in your life they appeared.

(Eg. world events, when siblings born, deaths, first romance, etc.)

Get a big sheet of paper, tape it down, and work on the floor!

Your River of Life:

Includes people & events that shaped you. (eg. births, deaths, world events, great/bad days, relationships, moving, etc.)

It Can:
Start before you were born
Have many branches
Be symbolic

Session 2

Storyboarding scenes from your River of life

Due Tomorrow:

Bring in stuff — inspired by your river of life — to make films with!

(Eg. special objects, old stuffed animals, digital pictures from Facebook).

Spend 15 minutes finishing up your river of life and then we'll share with each other.

(If you were absent, write a list of 10 events/people in your life that have made you, you.)


- 1 -

Joshua & Abby
Renato & Owen
Alena & Orlando
Bryan & Lorena
Nilsa & Gabriel
Jasleen & Ashley
Sophia & Emma

- 2 -

Shaliah & Owen
Issac & Migdalis
Ben & Lucy
Aaron & Gabriel
Justin & Alec
Victor & Elida

- 3 -

Suyogya & Kyla
Sabiha & Thai
Karina & Nolan
Moises & Lola
David & Rosa
Jossie & Marina
Shiv & Gia
Ariel & Sarai

1. Describe the events on your river to your partners. Partners should just listen.

2. When you're finished....use post-its to:

Mark 3 people who were important.

Mark 3 places that were important.

Mark 1 event which, if it never happened,
would change your life.

The butterfly effect

groundhog day

Examples of other Invisible Forces That Shape Our Lives

(eg: Confidence, age, language, way you look >>
jobs, $, etc.)

Marketing & Conceptions of Beauty

Racism & Bias

NHL Players' Birth Months


In this program, we'll be making movies that feature invisible forces. To make movies, we'll need to storyboard.

What is storyboarding?

Every finished minute of a professional movie takes the equivalent of one person working full time for ten years (20,000 hours).

Storyboarding a Scene from My River of Life


The stories should feature an invisible force and its role at this moment (eg. Obama).

Think about how to use props, photos, etc. that you can bring in from home, Facebook, etc.!!

Due Tomorrow:

1. Bring in stuff to make films with!

2. Storyboard.

3. If you have a phone, install Snapchat on it.

Session 3


"What If" stories:

Storyboards with the butterfly effect

Example Project: Mr. Mitchell

Add a scene in your storyboard that highlights the butterfly effect.

What if your main event never happend? How would you be different?

What would you change if you could? How would your life be different?

Session 4

Snapchat stories

We'll be here after school today (Friday) so that you can finish your stories!

Due Tonight

Text Molly 1 photo of something in the built environment/school/home that's annoying or interesting. (eg. Why is it even there?)

Text it with your name and some explanation to 917-584-9839 by 6PM

Stories don't have to be long.

They don't even have to be written.

Today, we're going to make Snapchat stories.

Example Snapchat Stories

Prompts for Snapchat stories:

  • Create a story that tells us who you are, using no words. (Feel free to use the photos, objects you brought in.)
  • Take some of the photos you brought in and make a montage story
  • Shoot the film onra your storyboard.

Session 5

Using what you've got.


  • 1 clip
  • 1 YouTube Video
  • 1 Song
  • Sound Effects

...to make a complete story.

Saving Stuff & Resources


After School — Text Us!

Text us something (not a person) that annoys you or which you don't get. (eg. Why is it even there?)

Text to Molly at 917-584-9839

session 6

Final Edits (so your film makes sense to others)

How to add words

How to narration (in bits)

By the end of today, your project should be complete enough that you'd be happy to show it to friends


Session 7

Invisible Forces

Next: We'll be making movies that feature invisible forces.

Coming up with projects:

  • Forms
  • Forces

What good looks like:

showing not telling

Example Projects:

Example Forms


Comedy ( violating expectations through role revesal)

white chicks

Creating alternative worlds

Short story

Remixing to show a "invisible" trend...


Session 8

Storyboarding Movies That Feature Invisible Forces

By the end of today, everyone should have a project idea and storyboard.

You could imagine making stories featuring...

Scenes from your life where invisible force X affects it.

Yourself narrating to the camera between clips of invisible force X affecting your life.

An anthropomorphization invisible force X

Anthropomorphizations of god's will

You could imagine anthropomorphizations of the invisible force who:

Takes your socks in the morning

Decides who you're attracted to

Is a physical manifestation of:

Sexism, Racism, Class, Greed, Innocence, Justice, etc.

People in different roles than they're expected to be in (eg. White Chicks)

Two worlds — One with invisible force X and one without it.

Showing the Consequences of a Force – How it shows up everywhere, all the time

Session 9

Qualities of good stories

What is your invisible force?

Better: Talking from your experience

Worse: Being too heavy-handed, talking about what you think the audience thinks instead of speaking from your own experience

Session 10

finishing movies and documenting work

To document projects:

  • A photo or GIF of you or your film
  • Export projects: iMovie >> Youtube
  • Send [unlisted] link to: molly@thesprouts.org.

Final Projects

Session 11

Last workday!

Session 12

Film Festival

<<<<<<< HEAD

Last Day 😢

Free write about your experience over the past three weeks


More Film Festival...

Class 1
Class 2
Class 3