Dance integration has the potential to reach students who struggle with traditional ways of learning Mathematics by providing embodied, playful, creative and artistic means of expressing and developing their understanding of numeracy. Below is an example of how you can integrate Maths and Dance in early years’ education:
Describe position and movement as numeracy links in a narrated Dance performance. The story below is an example work only. To aid student engagement, select a story that supports the culture, gender and/or real world experiences of the students in your classroom.
Teacher reads story below aloud to students, stopping when required to demonstrate the movements that students’ copy. Allow students time to perform their movements in response to the text. Make sure to focus and support students’ when performing the dance, by demonstrating large and small movements where required, the use of soft or strong energy (for example, the strong, stalking movement of the dingo, or the light springy movement when hopping around the performance space), and the extended, curved movements in imitation of Joey’s tail*.
Joey The Kangaroo – Gavin Beck
Joey is a small kangaroo who lives in the safety of his mother’s pouch. During the day, he curls up into a small ball and sleeps. Although Joey loved his mother and enjoyed living in her pouch, he was curious about the world outside his home. One day, Joey heard a howl in the bush near his home. He wondered what animal made such a strange sound. He slowly and gently climbed out of his mother’s pouch, using his tail, springy long legs and short arms to leave. Joey hopped forward for four counts (hop, hop, hop, hop), looked slowly around, bent low to smell and claw the ground, then hopped in a different direct, for four more counts (hop, hop, hop, hop). Suddenly a dingo came running toward him, then stopped and said hello. Joey waved to the dingo first with his small arms, then he wiggled his long tail, and then jumped in the air while turning around in excitement. The dingo thought Joey was funny, because he hopped everywhere he went, and asked him if he could walk on all fours like a dingo. Surely, the dingo said, this is the correct way to move around? Joey tried to walk on all fours like a dingo, moving with strong, flowing movements. But this didn’t feel right for Joey, because he was a kangaroo not a dingo, so he slowly stood up straight on his long springy legs, and hopped back home for 8 counts (hop, hop, hop, hop, hop, hop, hop, hop).
* Preschool/Foundation (location and transformation): Describe position and movement. Interpreting the everyday language of location and direction, such as ‘between’, ‘near’, ‘next to’, ‘forward’, ‘toward’
* Year 1 (shape): Recognise and classify familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects using obvious features