Fifth-grade teacher Beth Valente and dance artist Jen Halman develop a hypothesis for a math and science arts-integrated unit for fifth-grade students at Otis Elementary School. By using their bodies to demonstrate laws of motion and allowing concepts to be internalized kinesthetically, students will develop a deeper and more meaningful understanding of abstract scientific concepts using a variety of modalities. The students are hesitant to use their bodies, so the teaching team acknowledges that they will be challenged by dance. The goals for this unit are for the students to:
• demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion and the vocabulary associated with these concepts (force, friction, gravity, inertia, momentum, acceleration, action/reaction, and static friction).
• learn dance elements that are in relation to Newton’s Laws of Motion (repetition, balance, counterbalance, locomotor or stationary movement, and transfer) and create a movement piece that incorporates dance and science elements.
• compare Newton’s Laws of Motion to similar ideas in the art form and using higher-order thinking skills, while learning new vocabulary.