Arts Integration Lesson: Line Plot Dance

By | 2018-01-12T11:34:02+00:00 November 26th, 2015|

Grades: 4-6

Content Areas: Math and Dance

If you want to scare away the majority of adults from a lesson, you’d connect their least favorite subjects: math and dance.  From my experience, many educators (myself included) have our own gaps with math. Even the idea of teaching it heightens our stress levels.  By the same token, most adults I know are self-conscious about using their bodies to communicate information. Particularly, when it comes to doing so in a public setting like a classroom.

What’s interesting, though, is that when you pair these typically high-risk content areas together, almost everyone engages in the lesson at a higher level.  Rather than shy away, they take more risks – not less.  They experiment with the math, while simultaneously embracing the ways their bodies can be used to show the mathematical curves, angles and lines.

Today’s lesson was inspired by the TED talk from Wayne McGregor who actually choreographs dance in real-time during his TED Talk from 2012.  He uses the opportunity to talk about how dance can be used for cognitive thinking and communication, connecting the left and the right hemispheres of our brain processes.  You can watch the whole talk here:

Line Plot Dance Lesson

I’m a big believer in finding areas where students struggle with opportunities to connect with the arts.  Line plots definitely would qualify as one of these areas.  In today’s lesson, we’re pairing traditional mathematical line plots with choreographic writing to produce line plot dances.  Once your students get rolling with this lesson, it will be hard to get them to stop!

line plot dance


Now it’s your turn: how do YOU incorporate areas of struggle into your lessons in an innovative and creative way?  Share you tips and ideas with us in the comments below!

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Susan Riley is the founder and President of She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.

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