During the fall and winter of the 2017-18 school year teachers and students in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB), Ontario, Canada took the plunge. Using Math on the Move: Engaging Students in Whole Body Learning they bravely began the process of bringing math and dance together into the same learning context. Mary Walker Hope, who spearheaded the process, invited me to observe and celebrate the final presentations of children in grades one through eight. During my video chat observations I was incredibly inspired to see how the process laid out in Chapters 4 & 5 of Math on the Move had supported both children and teachers alike.
At the very end of their math and dance project Mary created three individual e-books recounting their work, with a special emphasis on the process. She writes:
Through integrating math and the arts, we engaged our students as inquirers, collaborators, creators, problem solvers, artists, dancers and mathematicians.
We began our journey from a creatively curious stance and with humility. We inquired, persevered, and solved. We learned how to teach math through dance and dance through math. We discovered through our collaborative inquiry that math, dance, language, music, and art are as interconnected as the processes we use to understand, solve, and create.
These three e-books are divided by grade band and FULL of documentation of their math/dance making process from start to finish including:
- Introductory activities
- Insights and encouragement for teachers around negotiating math and dance in the classroom at the same time
- Details about what each step of the process looks like in each grade band
- Lots of videos illustrating a variety of student work
- Step-by-step examples of the making process
- Examples of what they did to apply, extend, reflect, and assess the math/dance work
- Finally, these e-books provide an overall positive and encouraging message for teachers who might be ready to jump in to #movingmath!
These are real kids and real teachers making gorgeous math and dance. YOU CAN TOO!
The books are linked below. You might also be interested in another post on this blog inspired by the Canadian crew called “Why Math in your FEET?” which provides an explanation of percussive dance and the different kinds of sounds you can make with your feet while dancing.
Teaching Math AND Dance! Primary edition Gr. 1-3
Teaching Math AND Dance! Junior edition Gr. 4-6
Teaching Math AND Dance! Intermediate edition Gr. 7-8
Photos courtesy of Mary Walker Hope
Malke Rosenfeld is a percussive dance teaching artist, Heinemann author, editor, math explorer, and presenter whose interests focus on the learning that happens at the intersection of math and the moving body. She delights in creating rich environments in which children and adults can explore, make, play, and talk math based on their own questions and inclinations.You can find out more about her work at malkerosenfeld.com, on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.