Just start dancing the 8 characteristics of Living Things.
1. Cells: All living things have cells.
SHAPE: Have the class make one large cell together. Have the girls hold hands creating a circle (or the plasma cell membrane). Have 3 boys create a circle in the middle to represent the nucleus. Have the rest of the boys create random shapes scattered here and there within the large circle to create golgi, mitochondria, lysosome, ribosome and endoplasmic reticulum.
2. Feeding: All living organisms need to take substances from their environment to obtain energy, to grow and to stay healthy.
DANCE: Without touching anyone, have students try to “eat” something by running to it, swirling around that object, then cover it up with a shape that goes over it.
3. Movement: All living organisms show movement of one kind or another. They all have internal movement, which means that they have the ability of moving substances from one part of their body to another. Some living organisms show external movement as well. They can move from place to place by walking, flying or swimming.
DANCE: Shape - move to a new location - shape. Repeat several times. (This represents moving substances from one part of the body to another). Then dance external movement by doing locomotor steps, flying (soaring, floating on different levels in interesting pathways) and swimming (low level sustained movement).
4. Breathing or Respiration: All living things exchange gases with their environment. Animals take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
DANCE: Do big breathy movements from core to distal ends. Start very small and stretch out very big with the breath initiating the movement.
5. Excretion: Excretion is the removal of waste from the body. If this waste was allowed to remain in the body it could be poisonous. Humans produce a liquid waste called urine. We also excrete waste when we breathe out, sneeze, sweat, blow our nose, etc. All living things need to remove waste from their bodies.
DANCE: No dance - just a discussion.
6. Growth: When living things feed, they gain energy. Some of this energy is used in growth. Living things become larger and more complicated as they grow.
DANCE: Start small and grow to a huge shape. Go small again and grow to a small shape. Go small and grow to a crooked shape. Go small again and grow to a long shape. Go small and grow to a spiraled shape. Keep trying new shapes. The counts are . . . grow 1,2,3,4, hold 1,2,3 then go small again quickly on count 4. Repeat.
7. Sensitivity or Adaptation: Living things react to changes around them. We react to touch, light, heat, cold and sound, as do other living things.
DANCE: TOUCH: With a partner, have one touch while the other one responds with movement. For example if partner 1 touches their partner’s shoulder, partner 2 would move their shoulder. SOUND: With a partner, have one whisper into the other’s ear. For example if partner 1 whispers into their partner’s ear “run in a circle 3 times”, partner 2 would follow that command. Their commands can also include HEAT and COLD: such as “melt because the sun is so hot” or “shiver as if you’re in Antarctica”, etc. (We respond to touch - light - heat - cold - sound).
8. Reproduction: All living things produce young. Humans make babies, cats produce kittens and pigeons lay eggs. Plants also reproduce. Many make seeds which can germinate and grow into new plants.
DANCE: Egg - Baby - plants = round shape for eggs; small, low movements for babies; growing from low to high for seeds germinating and growing into a plant.
Create an entire dance by repeating the characteristics above. Have the students help you create an interesting dance by adding formations, entrances and exits, partner work, solos, etc. The kids have great ideas so use them and have fun creating!
Review the 8 characteristics of living things. Have the kids name examples they see in the world. Compare living things to non-living things. Discuss how living things survive in their particular environments.