Sunday, July 22, 2018

Dancing from STEM to STEAM to STREAM!


Dancing to stories is one of the main activities that young children have enjoyed in my creative movement classes over the years.  Reading a book or story, then using verbal prompts to encourage the children to relive the story through dance and music, is also a wonderful way to incorporate the all-important "A" for Arts and the "R" for Reading into STEM. 

STEM to STEAM to STREAM -- let's go!  

Recreating the story with movement helps children to understand the concepts in the book and learn about them kinesthetically.   This process also helps children identify with settings, characters, plot and themes of the story, and helps with sequencing, comprehension, and vocabulary.  Most of all, though, this activity makes story time lively and even more fun.

Here is a dance story that I have created based on Eric Carle's classic book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Along with instructions for presenting the dance story, I have included photos of a visit I made to a school in Nicaragua.  I had the Spanish version of the book, La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.  

I often supplement a dance story with props.  In this case, I used colorful scarves which become the wings when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.  

The materials you will need for this activity are:

1.  The book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle
2.  Colorful scarves or fabric scraps, about 12" square 
(2 per child)

3.  Two lively instrumental musical selections, one of which has a conga rhythm

Now you are ready to begin!  Gather the children together and read the story.

Explain the dance story, and tell the children that you will be giving them movement prompts so that they will be retelling the story with dance and music.  Make sure to give the children plenty of time to respond to each of your movement suggestions.

Play the music softly in the background.  


You are a little egg on a leaf, in the moonlight.

Pop out of your egg!

You are so hungry.  Where would you find some food?     Proceed through each day in the story as the caterpillar finds new things to eat.

Eat as much as you can and become a great big caterpillar!

Your tummy hurts! Eat a nice green leaf to make you feel better.

Now it is time to spin your cocoon! Turn, turn, spin, spin, spin!  Wait inside your cocoon while you make your amazing transformation.  

While the children are waiting, use a clothespin to attach a scarf to each of their shoulders.

Nibble a hole in your cocoon, and push your way out. Push hard.  Push with your feet, your wings, and look, you are a colorful butterfly! Your wings are still wet.  Try to flap them up and down, very gently.  Now, flap harder, and fly.  Fly around the room, beautiful butterflies!

Now we will finish our story by making a giant caterpillar! Form the children into a line, and put on the conga music.  

Play the conga music, stand at the front of the line and introduce the conga step:  one, two three, touch heel to one side (rhythm:  one, two, three + four), repeat to the other side, and continue all around the room.

Caterpillar Conga line.  One, two, three, and four!

Happy dancing -- 

Keep on dancin',



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