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Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights Lesson Plan

Author: Chara Huckins

Year: 2015

Artform: Dance

Subjects: Science

Grade: 6th

Duration: 2-3 Sessions

Overview: Using the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis, the Northern and Southern Lights, as a springboard for movement, students will expand dance and movement vocabulary with experiences in the elements of dance which are time, space, and energy.

Standards and Objectives

DANCE: STANDARD 1: OBJECTIVE 2:
Identify and execute axial and locomotor steps.

STANDARD 2: OBJECTIVE 3:
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences using the basic qualities of energy and motion

STANDARD 3: OBJECTIVE 2:
Create and discuss movement solutions derived from movement exploration.

STANDARD 4: OBJECTIVE 3 C:
Make connections between dance and other disciplines. Create a movement project from an idea from the sciences.
SCIENCE: STANDARD 3:
Students will understand the relationship and attributes of objects in the solar system.
To make connections between dance and other disciplines.


TEACHING AND TIMELINE

INTRODUCTION

Experience and Identify:

Show the students select pictures of the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis. How does the Aurora Borealis move in the sky? Ask them to describe the picture with action words: reaching and carving. Talk about how the Aurora Borealis moves and looks as though it is reaching and carving.

Explore these action words in movement.

  • Reaching: emphasize spoking movement that is direct and focused. Use different body parts. Can you find a way to move that reaches in all different directions? Find a way to reach on different levels?
  • Carving: emphasize arcing pathway using their arms, back, legs, elbows, head, hips, etc. Can you find a way to move in an arc, a circle and a squiggle in all different directions? Find a way to arc, circle and squiggle on different levels?

DEMONSTRATION

Explore and Investigate:

Show the students select pictures of the Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis. How does the Aurora Borealis move in the sky? Ask them to describe the picture with action words: following and connecting. Talk about how the Aurora Borealis moves and looks as though it is following and connecting.

Explore these action words in movement.

  • Following: emphasize slow motion, change of levels. Try this as a large group with the teacher being the leader, then divide the students into pairs. Take turns being the leader.
  • Connecting: Emphasize movement that is soft and careful. Emphasize working together and cooperating. Moving Example: With your partner have one person move and make a connected shape, then the other person will move and make a connected shape. Repeat.

WORK PERIOD

Create and Perform:

Look at pictures of the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis. How does the Aurora Borealis move in the sky? Talk about how the Aurora Borealis moves in the sky. It is reaching, carving, following, and connecting. How could you dance with your partner and explore all of the action words in movement with flashlights? In duets, explore all of the action words in movement with flashlights.

Now, how can we use the Northern and Southern Lights to create a movement pattern? Now, let’s create a pattern using the movement vocabulary that we have explored with the flashlights.

Create a pattern:

  • Carving – 8 counts
  • Reaching – 8 counts
  • Following – 8 counts
  • Connecting – 8 counts

Perform your patterns.

CLOSURE/SUMMARY

Connect and Analyze:

Ask the students to perceive and reflect what they observed.

“What did you like about the dance? Remember to ask why they liked it. Were the performers focused and engaged?”


Students will integrate dance and science to enhance their learning about the solar system consisting of planets, moons, and other smaller objects including the Northern Lights. Historically, cultures have observed objects in the sky and understood and used them in various ways.
  • How does the Aurora Borealis move in the sky?
  • How can we use the Northern and Southern Lights to create a movement pattern?
Adjust the dance as needed for individual student needs.
  • Aurora Borealis
  • Aurora Australis
  • reaching
  • carving
  • following
  • connecting
Historically, cultures have observed objects in the sky and understood and used them in various ways.
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Create an exit ticket quiz on what the students danced about.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT: Assess the students while they are dancing for understanding about the concept being taught.
Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis: This is an atmospheric phenomenon consisting of bands, curtains, or streamers of light, usually green, red, or yellow, that move across the sky in Polar Regions.

SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT AND RESOURCES