Capstone Project Title
Melissa Erickson and Laura Halldin
Many classrooms are characterized by students sitting in desks. However, research in embodied cognition shows us that the mind is best activated when the body is moving and interacting with the world. The curriculum designed for this project focuses on bringing dance and movement to an eighth grade physical science class in order to increase their motivation, interest, and understanding. Historically, dance and movement have been used as educational methods in many non-white cultures. More recently, incorporating dance into classrooms has been linked to increased executive function in students of color in at-risk and urban schools. Dancing provides students who might not otherwise participate with a way to engage in class. Dancing also provides a way to conceptualize many of the difficult to see, abstract, scientific concepts. This project involved creating a curriculum that engages middle school students in the topics of physics and chemistry by incorporating a variety of dance, movement, and mindfulness strategies. This curriculum will be used in an eighth grade physical science classroom, but the strategies are adaptable to a range of educational settings. The goal of the project is to ground students in their bodies and provide students with a way of knowing and tools for meaning-making that feel more relevant and authentic than those traditionally provided in science classes.
Art Education, Curriculum, Science
Johnston, Ellis, "Dancing Science: Using Dance and Movement as Culturally Responsive Teaching Strategies to Increase Motivation, Interest, and Understanding in Middle School Science Classes" (2023). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 968.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects