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make your day dance

Dance finds a place in math class

November 26th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Tags: ·

This email from a kindergarten teacher (when she discovered that dance found its way into her math lesson) was a real upper…

“Just wanted to let you know that yesterday in math, [my class] made a bar graph of our favorite school activities.  The winner was dance!  10 kids chose dance. Come see the bar graph.”

6 Comments so far ↓

  • cait

    This was a cute anecdote – I would have never guessed dance would be the favorite!

  • megrm

    Dance does indeed come in pretty high — immediately for primary kids & more gradually for older kids, for whom their experiences with dance have to overcome some preconceived notions!

  • Deborah Robson

    Having been in your dance classes (years ago, and as an adult), I can easily believe they would top a bar graph.

  • Jdiefen

    I was so excited to read that dance found its way into a math class. Guess what? Dance/movement has also found its way into a science class! I am student teaching in the Northshore SD (coming from the UW-Bothell teacher cert. program). I was co-teaching a lesson yesterday and we were reviewing states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases) and molecular activity. I started talking with my hands (my hands were the molecules in slow vibration). I drew pictures on the white board to explain density and the arrangement of molecules. Then I utilized a movement analogy. In hindsight, the only problem was I hadn’t anticipated going there, and I wasn’t prepared to have the kids get up and MOVE. They had to use their imaginations. But in the future, I will have students get up and “become” the molecules! So that they can conceptualize the activity of molecules in a solid state, I will have students “clump” together in the center of a room. I might use rope to create a perimeter or a specified volume. The molecules in a solid state vibrate and the energy level is low. Molecules have a strong attraction to each other. In a liquid state, I will encourage students that their activity level is a bit higher. They are free to move about–the shape that they fill changes a bit more but definitely does not spill into the entire room. Finally, they will “move” like molecules in a gaseous state. The molecules are energized or excited. They occupy the entire space of their container. A nice comparison might be to share how perfume diffuses in a room when sprayed. Teachers will want to have space in the room cleared, or ask for students to help move desks. At this particular school, classes are nearly 2 hours long and students (eighth grade) can benefit from the physical break–transition. This may not be a novel idea, but it might remind someone of the possibilities of adding movement to academia. I am definitely reminded that there are creative movement ways to draw connections to learning, and especially for kinesthetic learners, this just may be what they have been needing.

  • megrm

    Molecules are great for movement — I’m glad you outlined how. And the dance studies will take on really different forms, depending on whether you emphasize the various speed of the molecules, the way the movement qualities change from one state of matter to another, the amount of space occupied by molecules in different states, or the quality of flow from controlled to free to out-of-control. I wish you great success with integrating movement into your science! It’s a natural, especially with 2-hour blocks!