ERIC Number: EJ906461
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-17
Reference Count: N/A
Schools Integrate Dance into Lessons
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v30 n12 p1, 14-15 Nov 2010
Photosynthesis may be an unlikely topic to inspire an opera or ballet, but in a 2nd grade classroom in Pikesville, Maryland, the children were asked to use dance to help them learn about that process. Small groups of pupils in this class at Fort Garrison Elementary School brainstormed to come up with dance movements to convey elements of photosynthesis, including water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll. They leaned, they reached, they flowed, sometimes with surprising grace. The idea of integrating the arts, including dance, into the broader curriculum is not new, but it appears to be gaining a stronger foothold in public schools, proponents say, though national data are not available. The growth comes as arts education advocates struggle to ensure adequate time and support for the arts in schools--whether music, visual arts, theater, or dance--amid the financial straits facing many districts and other challenges, such as pressure to boost test scores in core subjects like reading and math. Instances of integrating dance, though apparently still quite limited, are scattered across the country, from public schools in Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada, to suburban Minneapolis and the Baltimore County, Maryland, district, which includes Fort Garrison Elementary. And they span the curriculum, from science and math to social studies and English. The lesson this month at Fort Garrison came out of a small, new program, dubbed Teaching Science with Dance in Mind, that provides professional development and support for several classroom teachers and dance specialists. The program was launched with the help of a $36,000 grant from Hands On Science Outreach, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization that recently closed its doors. Arts education proponents suggest that studying the arts provides a variety of academic and social benefits to young people and can enhance students' ability to learn other subjects, including the development of skills in reading, language development, and math. It's seen as a powerful way to promote creativity and critical thinking, among other skills.
Descriptors: Hands on Science, Botany, Dance, Scientific Concepts, Elementary School Science, Science Instruction, Experiential Learning, Interdisciplinary Approach, Teaching Methods, Faculty Development, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Grade 2, Plants (Botany)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 2
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland