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Bird Beak Ballet

  • Lesson Plan Creator: Kara Komarnitsky
  • Grades: Grade 4, Grade 5
  • Subjects: Science
  • National/State Fine Arts Standards: Create, Perform/Present, Connect, Respond, Connect/Analyze
  • Tags: Creative Movement
  • Skills Addressed: Creative Problem Solving

Students will explore shapes and pathways to create movement inspired by different birds at that inhabit the Great Salt Lake.

Learning Objectives/Goals

Demonstrate the shape of different bird beaks and how they move through space with creative movement. Creation of patterns, recall movement sequences, use images as inspiration for movement, describe the shape and function of different bird beaks.

Materials Needed

Open Space, drum, photographs and videos of different birds that live at the Great Salt Lake


Establish class goals and expectations. Ask students what they picture in their minds when they think of a bird's beak.


Spread the students out into the space and create still shapes in response to the following words: curved, straight, wide, narrow, hooked and scooped. Try using the whole body and then just individual body parts to make the shapes. Next, have them try moving
instead of still shapes, using similar words: round, straight, small, wide, hook and scoop. Have students try these movements in different pathways (straight, curved and zig-zag).


Discuss the Great Salt Lake and how it is a important nesting and feeding location for many different types of birds. Show some photos of birds that live in the Great Salt Lake region. Examine the different beaks of the birds. What do you notice?


Have each student select a bird and create a shape, a movement and include a pathway to show a movement description of the bird's beak.


Perform the movement creations and link together to form a bird beak ballet! Use music for further inspiration or the sounds of birds.

Extension to the Lesson

This same idea could be done with other animals that live on or near the Great Salt Lake. Examining different ways of swimming, flying, walking, etc.

Follow-up Resources

Great Salt Lake Bird Refuge


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What People are Saying

The diversity of the dancers really spoke to my students! It was great to see boys and girls dancing, and different races. The high level of engagement was so refreshing and got students excited about thecontent.
This activity was valuable because it helped students make connections between dance, rhythm, healthy lifestyles, and expression. The students were impressed by the talent of the dancers and it was motivating to them.
Opportunities for art and expression are so limited at school but so essential and valuable for all students, especially those who struggle to learn through traditional methods. My Kindergarteners have been dancing since you left!
This was so engaging. I looked around the auditorium and every student was watching. Not one person was talking or distracted
This activity is valuable to teachers and students because it gives them a creative outlet. We need movement in the classroom to engage, energize and deepen student learning.
I got great ideas on how to incorporate movement into math and science lessons.
I loved how you made movement and exercise relatable to the students. The dancers were full of energy and there was very little down time so students stayed engaged.
Our children were captivated by the performance. They listened to you and they were learning without knowing. They usually giggle when bodies are shown and talked about. But the way you presented it was so tastefully done, they now do poses and movement around the room and outside. You brokesome barriers and they took that permission and literally ran with it!