|Grade span:||6 to 8|
|Duration:||Four 45-minute sessions|
Description:This lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Making Connections to History and Culture. In this activity, students work in small groups to research and make presentations on folk dances from different cultures and time periods.
- Understand how dance is used to express culture and history
- Understand how dance is used to communicate stories, moods, and feelings
- Work together to research the anthropology of a particular folk dance and to create a presentation about it
- Internet access
- Library access or books about dance from different cultures and time periods
- CD/tape player (optional)
- Audio/visual equipment (optional)
- Materials to create props/scenery/costumes for presentations (optional)
- Generate a list of various folk dances from different cultures and time periods. You should have one folk dance for each small group of students. Write or print the name of each dance on a small slip of paper. Fold the papers and place them in a bowl for students to draw from. Examples include:
- El Jarabe Tapatio
- Contra dance
- Cotton-Eyed Joe
- Ribbon dance
- Irish jig
- Select a folk dance. Be prepared to tell students a few basic interesting facts about the dance and the people who perform it.
- Generate a "Folk Dance Research Guide." Include the following questions for students to answer about their folk dance:
- What does this dance look like? (include movements and costume)
- What music traditionally accompanies this dance?
- What culture and people traditionally perform this dance? Why?
- When was this dance developed?
- What was occurring in this place and culture during that time period?
- Does this dance tell a story? If so, what?
- What else about the history and/or culture does this dance express?
What to Do:Session 1
- Provide a brief introduction to folk dances and explain how they connect to different cultures and time periods. For example, choose one or two dances that students will not be researching. Show them a book or video that demonstrates the dance, or play the music that accompanies the dance. Include details from the Folk Dance Research Guide to model the kind of information that students will present.
- Divide students into small groups. Ask a representative from each group to come forward and choose a dance (written on folded paper and put in a bowl).
- Explain that each group will research one dance, using the Internet and books to find information and answer the questions in the Folk Dance Research Guide.
- Provide students with the Folk Dance Research Guide questions and answer any questions they may have about researching their dance.
- Ask students to use this session to do research as a group on their dance.
- Circulate among student groups to check in, see how students are doing, and answer any questions. Make sure that each person in the small group has a role. For example, one person might search the Internet, another person can explore books, and another person can record facts. By the end of this session, students should have answered the Folk Dance Research Guide questions.
- Ask the groups to create a presentation using what they have learned about their dance. Each group can perform the dance, show the dance on a video, play the music that accompanies the dance, or draw or act out what was happening in history that may have inspired the dance. All presentations should provide the historical and cultural context for the dance and answer the questions in the Folk Dance Research Guide.
- Each student should have a role in the final presentation.
- Ask the groups to present their dance, including what they have learned about the dance and the history and culture it represents. Each student should have a role in the final presentation.
- Allow time for questions and answers. Encourage other students to ask questions of presenting groups.
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- An increased understanding and appreciation of different cultures
- An increased understanding of how dance expresses history, tells a story, and expresses moods and feelings
- Students' working together to research and prepare presentations
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.