Geometric Shapes and Dance

2 Fun Activities to Start out the School Year


The summer holiday provides a much-needed time to reinvest in our creativity, and already teachers are thinking about the first week back to school, looking for ice-breakers activities, and new ways to engage students.


Geometric Dances are excellent social dances that can be easily implemented and are great for team building. Without having to delve too quickly into the math curriculum, Geometric Dances provide a fun start to the school year and geometry is a topic most students are comfortable with, especially shape building.


Two Favorite Dance Activities Focused on Geometry


Glow in the Dark 3D or 2D Forms


In this activity, we’ll be building shapes with string/yarn in small groups, and exploring how we can develop these designs into a dance.


You’ll need:

  • Strips of fluorescent or white think yarn or string. Enough for each group to have several pieces

  • Music to play in the background and while presenting

  • 2D or 3D Shape Diagrams, several for each group

Preparation:

  • Cut the yarn into long strips, 1 meter or 2 meters in length or a combination of both

  • Using a thin piece of painter’s tape, mark every 10 cm

Exercises: Part 1

  • Ask the students to work in small groups, give them some time to introduce themselves, and provide them with a few questions to ask one another, some things you’d like them to share with their new classmates.

  • Give each group a series of shapes they will need to build as a team. You can give groups the same or different shape packages

  • Ask the students to use the string pieces to build these shapes. Memorize and practice how they do it as a team.

Exercise: Part 2

  • Encourage creativity, and ask the students to use the shapes within a dance. They must find interesting ways to move in and out of the forms, including a way for the shapes to move around, maybe shaking, spinning, turning, or translating through space, while exploring variations, such as speed, facing, and location.

  • Allow the students time, to practice and perfect their dances.

Presentation:

  • Students can introduce their team members to the rest of the class, additionally, they can share one thing they learned about their new classmates.

  • Each group can present the dance to the class.

  • Turn out the lights and use Black lighting so that the shapes glow (I bought black light LED strips from Amazon). If you have more time to prepare for this activity, you can ask students to wear black clothing. This will allow us to see only the shapes being formed, dancing, and moving through the room.

This exercise can be accomplished with both 2D and 3D shapes and you can make them as simple or complex as you like. I love using Metatron's cube and the 5 platonic solids and have fun going into the history of these unique shapes. You can also ask students to calculate the area of each shape they build. This will of course vary, depending on how they use the string pieces.


Geometry Hip Hop Dances


If you have a group that loves to dance, this will be a simple exercise to implement. If they are less familiar with movement you may have to help your students by providing them with some steps or dance in advance. Thankfully YouTube is full of dance choreography, you can easily pick a hip hop dance tutorial for your students to learn.


You’ll Need:

  • Painters tape in several colors, at least one roll per group

  • Two-dimensional shape diagrams, several for each group

Exercise: Part 1

  • Ask the students to work in small groups, give them some time to introduce themselves, and provide them a few questions to ask one another, some things you’d like them to share with their new classmates.

  • Give each group a series of shapes that they will need to incorporate into their dance. Shapes can be incorporated by using them to establish their standing position and floor pattern, within their movements, or by building shapes with their body (individually or with the group).

  • Give the students time to come up with a short dance phrase. Building an entire dance can be a daunting task, especially without choreographic experience so ask them to create only a short dance phrase (approximately 4 counts of 8 or 32 counts). This way they can repeat the phrase in different formations or use themes and variations, such as overlapping the phrase in a canon, and or changing the dynamic or speed of the phrase. A lot can be adapted with one phrase to make an interesting dance, you do not need a lot of steps.

  • Once they have their routine, they must represent the forms they were given within their dance, practice, and memorize the dance.

  • The painter’s tape is a tool they may need to help mark standing spaces or shapes on the floor.

Presentation:

  • Students can introduce their team members to the rest of the class, additionally, they can share one thing they learned about their new classmates.

  • Each group can present the dance to the class.

You can use very simple shapes for this activity like, squares, circles, and triangles. However, I like to use sacred geometry shapes, especially when working with older students. They’re not as easy to use and will require creativity in order to fully incorporate these complex designs. We can later go into the history of these shapes and their mathematical connections.


To learn more about math dance, become a member of Dance Equations. I offer online courses and workshops. Please follow me on my YouTube channel. Together we can inspire new mathematicians, one dance step at a time.




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