Dance Your Way through STEAM

On Thursday, July 23rd, I have the honor of presenting again during Education Closet‘s summer Connectivity Conference.  This is a conference I have presented at since it’s conception by my wonderful friend, Susan Riley.  She has done such great work for teachers who strive to keep the arts and arts integration thriving in schools.

My presentation is titled, “Dancing through STEAM.”

The art of dance allows you to literally embody STEM concepts.  Whether you are a trained professional or wall-flower, you can do this Pre-K through 12!  During my presentation, I will share ways I have used dance and movement to introduce vocabulary, teach scientific processes and assess science and math concepts.

Before I share a couple of examples, first let’s look at some dance concepts.  Remember, in order for these to be examples of true arts integration, you need teach the STEM concept as well as that of the art form.

BEST danceFor dance, I use BEST, an acronym that stands for Body, Energy, Space and Time.

Briefly, Body refers to the body parts that you move, Energy is where you can consider the tension on your body as well as how you move your body, Space refers to the space you take up with your movement, including a varieties of levels from crouching low to stretching up and/or out and Time refers to your tempo or speed of movement.  For a wonderful post detailing these concepts, please check out BEST: An Integrated Teaching of the Elements of Dance by a good friend of mine and writer with Education Closet, Deirdre Moore.
Keeping these concepts in mind, I’d love to share a couple of dance videos with you that showcase some STEAM dances my students have created over the years.

This is a popular video on our YouTube channel: Math Dances!

Math Dances on YouTube

Another example of a STEAM dance is this one my students created where they dance their way through the water cycle. Here we really make use of Energy (how the water droplets move in the different parts of the cycle), Space (how much space they take up) and Time (how quickly the water droplet moves at the different stages of the cycle.)

Water Cycle on YouTube

Dance is a wonderful way to get students actively learning about many concepts weather we are talking about moving though a scientific cycle, acting through a story, moving like the lines in an artwork or expressing a piece of music.

As you consider your next lesson or project, keep a copy of BEST near you and see if you are inspired to get your students moving.


Printable resource with links from today’s presentation.

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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  1. Deirdre Moore says:

    I love these, Elizabeth! How I wish I had you for a teacher when I was in school! I love the simple yet effective use of movement for different math concepts. They will never forget the difference between a line, a ray, and a line segment! Any teacher whether they feel comfortable with movement or not could use that approach. I also love your use of stairs to really demonstrate the levels involved in the water cycle. Students can clearly see how they precipitation collects at a higher level as clouds and falls as precipitation to a lower level back down earth. The “cycle” aspect is so clearly demonstrated as students continuously move in a literal circle as they move through the stages. So brilliant! Thanks for the shout out to my article on BEST and thanks for sharing these videos. I have yet to see your presentation at the Connectivity Conference as I was actually facilitating a workshop that day but I look forward to viewing it even more after reading this post! You are amazing!

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