In this lesson designed for elementary grades 4-6, students explore dance elements by learning about math fractions.
Dance Elements Time and Space, Using fractions in rhythm, Using fractions in the dance space, Verbs, Patterns, Collaboration, Creative Thinking, Teamwork
Fraction cards, a large space, Verb Cards, music with a steady beat
Class expectations (Good listening, following directions, be creative, be active), Space boundaries, personal boundaries, goals for class today
Ask students to define a beat. Explain the division of a beat; whole note, !/2 note, 1/4 note, 1/16 note. Direct students to walk in the space on the different parts of the beat. Whole note = 1 step, 1/2 note = 2 steps, 1/4 note = 4 steps, 1/16 note = 8 steps. The walking will gradually increase in speed as the notes get smaller. Try the same thing with a different action. Try with music.
Have a student select a fraction card. For example 1/3, indicate where 1/3 of the room would be. Have all students gather in 1/3 of the space. Tell them this is the space where you will be moving. Select 4 action cards. The first action card will be done in whole note, the 2nd action card in 1/2 notes, the 3rd action card in 1/4 notes and the final action card in 1/16 notes. Practice this with the drum in the 1/3 space area. Direct students to try and show use of the entire 1/3 spatial area. Try with the drum then try with music.
Divide students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a fraction card. This is the amount of the space they will need to use during their 4 movements. Give each group 4 action cards. Instruct them to use the 1st card for whole notes, the 2nd card for 1/2 notes, the 3rd card for 1/4 notes and the 4th card for 1/16 notes. Give them 3 minutes to work out their movements and space.
Have students perform their patterns. Audience looking for fraction of space used and what actions group used for their divisions of the beat.
Extension to the Lesson
Divide the space by height: high, medium, low and very low. Add these heights to the action cards of the different rhythms.
Follow Up Resources
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