Math and Dance. Theme-based teaching and learning.

By: Elisabet Sjöstedt Edelholm
Position: Assistant professor in Children and Youth Dance, DOCH, Stockholm University of the Arts, Sweden

This lesson plan is planned for pre-primary school children, It is based on Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) and it starts in an idea and includes both props and music relating to the idea and theme.

You can download this lesson plan here


Theme: The body | Idea: number 5

  • Walk on a line one after the other singing a song that had a connections to a number – come to a circle
  • Sit down and ask the children that 5 children should stand up and everybody else should sit down. Ask 5 children to sit down and everybody else should stand up. Let everybody sit down
  • Sit in a circle and ask the children how many fingers we have on each hand and what that makes together. And if we add the toes?
  • Start with one hand. Clench one´s fist and spread the fingers at the same time as you count to five. Stop on five and hold the hand still. Repeat twice and then shake your hand and on the count of five clench one´s fist- Repeat with the other hand and then do it with both hands at the same time.
  • Stand up in the circle and walk with high knees on the spot and count loudly to five and balance one  leg the rest of the phrase. Do the same thing in locomotion all over the space and find funny  and unusual  balances
  • Gallop freely in space without knocking into each other. Stop with 5 toes and five fingers on the floor and balance. Gallop again and next time stop with one bottom and 4 fingers on the floor. Gallop again and stop with 2 elbows+2 knees+1 nose in the floor. Gallop sideways this time and stop with the whole body on the floor. Rest.
  • Make /perform the number 1 with the body during eight counts  saying at the same time like a rap. Standing one and  lying zero and standing five and stand still. Try to perform it during 8 counts and then 4 counts.
  • Sit down all over the space.

(1-6) lift one arm straight over the head

(7-10) lift the other arm and clap on ten’

(11-14) Bend the whole body forward with the arms over the head

(15-17) Sit upright with the arms side ways

(18) tighten one arm

(19) tighten the other arm

(20) Put both elbows on the knees

Music: ”5 myror är fler and 4 elefanter”- Notfabriken

  • Let one child hold the prop in her/his hand so you can see who is first in the line. Let them run 5 circles together.
  • Everybody spread out in space. Far away from the walls and far away from each other. During 5 counts the children are supposed to find a new spot to sit on. Far away from each other and far away from the walls. Repeat some times.
  • One child starts to run in curved pathways and everybody else is sitting all over the space. She/he claps a child lightly on the head and starts counting ONE runs again and claps an other child on the head TWO and so on until the FIFTH child then they change places and the sitting child starts to run and the running child sits on that spot.
  • Listen to “Affären” ( The shop/store)on a CD . When the lyrics says EN KRONA you make/perform the number one with your body. It can be lying down or standing up. Skip in between.
  • Every child stands along THE LONG WALL and the teacher says – Dance towards me all the children! The children answer – How? The teacher responds- Jump 20 jumps and count loudly.  Repeat the words and – Walk 20 steps backwards” Repeat the words and- Sneak 20 long steps.
  • Everybody stands in a circle and the teacher troughs a cube on the floor. Perform the amount of jumps, movements and so on as the cube indicates. Count loudly at the same time.
  • Every child gets two small stones. Try to hit 5 times and be quite 3 times. Try to “play” as fast or as slowly as the musician/tambourine is playing. Put the hands very quickly behind the back in between. Play rhythmically different number with 5 in it, 55, 75, 105 ……………………
  • “The Dance of the Paprika” Five children gets one colored paprika in their hand. The other children are acting an audience. The ones with the paprika in their hands starts to improvise a very quick rhythmical dance using different levels and stops. Change dancers.