Saturday, September 22, 2018

DANCING Down the STREAM: Movement Activities about Water

Dancing is a fun and enriching arena for teaching children STEM concepts.  In this lively lesson, we will study many aspects of water.  Dance adds the "A" for the Art component, and using books and stories adds the "R" for reading,  to complete the idea of STEM to STEAM to STREAM!  

I have created two movement activities based on the following books:

Make a Splash, by Catherine Berger Kaye and Philippe Cousteau, Free Spirit Publishing, 2013

Water is Water, by Miranda Paul, Illustrations by Jason Chin, Roaring Brook Press, 2015

Based on the Section From "Stream to Sink"

Have you every wondered where the water from our faucets comes from? This dance story will help us to learn about it!  

Read the short section of the book on page 29.  Put on some quiet instrumental music for the background of the activity, then begin:

Let’s brush our teeth. Put toothpaste on your toothbrush, brush those teeth, up and down, turn on the water . . .
Wait, where does that clear, cool water come from?

We will find out! The water from our faucet starts out in a lake, reservoir, or river near your town, or maybe from a well in the ground.  Let’s visit a lake and then see where it goes!

Here we are at the beautiful lake.  Let’s take a boat ride.  Climb aboard! (sit on the floor cross-legged, and imagine you are rowing a boat).  
Sway back and forth when there is a wave!  Let’s paddle all the way across the lake.  Look at those pipes!  That is where water starts its journey to your sink.  Now, let’s jump out and swim back! How many different strokes can you do?  Swim all around the room.

The next stop for our water is at the water treatment plant.  This is where the water from the lake gets cleaned and filtered. Imagine you are the water flowing through the pipes that takes it to our homes and other buildings.  

What would that feel like? What would it sound like?  Can you make the sounds of water swishing and flowing through pipes?

Next, smaller pipes are going to carry you to your sink!  Let’s imagine we are following the pipes that are underground, under the streets, parks, and buildings.  Up above, we hear cars, then a playground, and children playing above us.  What else do you think is above us?  Keep going – the water can flow fast!   Let’s each move in many different directions, imagining we are flowing through the system of pipes underneath a city.

You have finally arrived at your sink!  Imagine you are a drop of water, and you plop into your sink at home.
Finally, swirl and swirl and imagine that you are slowly spiraling toward the drain. That was a long journey!  To finish our dance story, gently fall to the floor and imagine you are a puddle.


Here is another dance activity about water in all of its various forms.  Read the book Water is Water.  Put on some quiet instrumental music for the background of the activity. Use the text of the book mixed with movement prompts as you retell the story and add lots of ideas for the children to explore:

Water is water . . . Can you imagine you are water?  Flowing, slowly, then faster. Think of all the different places you have seen water, and move like water as it travels slowly in a river, or quickly over a waterfall.

Unless . . . it heats up and becomes steam.  Whirl, swirl, curl, feel lighter than air.  Rise and fall, move as quietly as you can.

Steam is steam unless . . . It cools high in the air.  Can you imagine you are a cloud?  
Can you change slowly from one shape to another, just like a cloud on a lazy summer day? Move silently across the sky as you change into many different shapes.

Clouds are clouds unless: they form low . . . imagine you are misty fog . . . Twist, curl, uncurl, go high and feel light, and low as you feel heavy.  

Fog is fog unless . . . it begins to fall.  What is it? Rain!  Fall fast and slow, heavily and lightly.  Blow back and forth in the strong wind.  Now put on your raincoat and rain boots.  Run quickly as the fat raindrops fall on you.  Now let's splash in the puddles!

Rain is rain unless . . . puddles freeze! Let’s imagine the floor of the room is covered in a sheet of ice.  Put on your skates!  Skate forward, backward, make patterns like figure 8’s with your feet. Can you balance with one leg behind you? 
Can you turn?  Faster?  Let’s play ice hockey!

Ice is ice unless . . . it is snowflakes!  Imagine you are a snowflake.  What shape snowflake are you?  Let the cold wind carry you, as you glide, turn, swirl, and blow.  Gently fall to the ground.  Make footprints in the snow.  Now let’s build snow people!
Pack the snow, roll, first a big section for the base, then make smaller sections, and put one on top of another. What will we use for the face?   Now let’s go sled-riding.  Let's throw snowballs!

Snow is snow unless . . .spring comes back!  Let’s imagine we are a creek.  We begin on the top of a high mountain as melted snow.  Then we come tumbling down the mountainside, over rocks, waterfalls, and rushing through the valley. Now we will play in the mud. Squish, slip, slide. 
Let’s pick apples, like the children in the story.  Climb the ladder, reach for the big juicy apples!  Now let’s jump into the lake.  
Go for a swim in all of that lovely, soft water on a summer day. Float on your back and look at the clouds as they drift across the sky.

Keep on Dancin',

Moving is Learning!

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