Can you integrate computer science in a second and third grade dance class? Can choreographing a dance be compared to programming a robot? Yes! And you will be surprised at how many math concepts students will learn in the process.
Xan Regan, dance teacher at Poe Elementary School, in Raleigh, NC, asked me to teach her dance class how to use CodeSnaps, the free coding app from Curriculum Pathways. Initially I was skeptical, but after talking to her and understanding her vision, I couldn't wait to get into her classroom.
To prepare for the coding exercise, Ms. Regan taught her students the vocabulary they would need to program a robot to dance. By the time we arrived these second and third graders understood vertex, line segment, parallel lines, right angles, and line of symmetry. They also knew the difference between a quadrilateral, a parallelogram, a rectangle, and a square.
The students understood all of this because they learned to dance in a quadrilateral pattern, using parallel steps and hops. While performing this dance around rectangles and squares they also discovered another math vocabulary term: perimeter. Not stopping there, Ms. Regan also introduced the concept of variables in relation to dance. These variables included color, length, and speed.
My co-workers and I spent four days with Ms. Regan's class integrating CodeSnaps and dance. Here's the schedule:
Day 1: We introduced coding and CodeSnaps to the class using the Square Dancing math and coding lesson found in Curriculum Pathways.
Day 2: The students used their new CodeSnaps coding skills to program robots to dance together, both congruently and mirroring each other. They also ran a congruent 'dance' program with two robots in the same square, starting at different vertices.
Day 3: Building on the students’ programming skills, we introduced 45, 180, and 135 degree angles, along with a more complex choreographed dance.
Day 4: With the code complete in the CodeSnaps app and transferred via Bluetooth to the robots, all four Spheros did a dance in the same space, at the same time. The students were thrilled with their accomplishment!
And this is what it all looked like in the classroom!
Want to start coding in your art classes? Here's a good overview of ideas for music, art, and even PE classes.
And this quick video will get you started using CodeSnaps, in any class!