Are you teaching or learning about life cycles right now and are you after an activity that engages kinaesthetic learners or simply after an activity that will get kids moving? This dance lesson about butterflies is a great way to engage children in learning about the life cycle of a butterfly in a creative way that allows them to learn through movement and by using their imagination.
After our warm-up, we pop out of our eggs and wiggle and squirm just like caterpillars in three different ways; standing up, using our arms, and then lying on the floor. Next, we start creating our Chrysalis beginning at our feet and moving up to the top of our heads until we’re fully engulfed. Lastly, we emerge from our Chrysalis into beautiful butterflies and flutter and fly all around the dance space. All the while practicing ballet skills such as balancing on one foot and strengthening our ankles and calves whilst on relève (our tip toes).
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CRAFT AND ART ACTIVITIES
LINKS TO THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Having been a teacher in Australia with a Bachelor of Education (Primary), I am always looking at ways to creatively teach children and regularly used dance and movement in my classroom to enforce learning of concepts and material we were learning about in different areas of the school curriculum.
The following are some links and connections that can be made from this creative dance lesson to other areas of learning!
Mathematics or Arithmetic
- Count forwards or backward as you do ballet walks, plies, or sautés or any other ballet step or exercise.
- Count how long you can balance on one leg or in a ballet pose such as an arabesque or retire.
- Count butterflies in your garden or at the park.
- Count butterfly wings by twos.
- Measure the length of your jete or ballet leap.
- Measure your height when on flat feet and en relève (to rise) and work out the difference.
- Use a ballet ribbon to measure objects around the house – which ones are shorter or longer than your ribbon.
- Collect Data and make graphs about ballet and dance – ask your family if they like ballet, ever took a class, have seen a ballet.
- Read a book about dance that encourages numeracy and counting – you can find some of these in this article on Dance Parent 101
- Learn about symmetry by studying Butterfly wings which have symmetrical patterns – each wing is a mirror opposite.
English and Literacy
- Create a spelling list of words to do with the life cycle of a butterfly.
- Create handwriting tasks around the life cycle of the butterfly.
- Create a list of adjectives to describe butterflies and caterpillars.
- Create a list of verbs to describe the difference between how a caterpillar and butterfly moves.
- Write or tell a Recount about doing your online ballet lesson or a dance class you have taken.
- Write a narrative or fictional story about butterflies.
- Research and then write a report about butterflies.
- Read stories about butterflies or dance and ballet.
Science and Biology
- Learn about other animals such as frogs who have interesting changes in their lifecycles.
- Compare the life cycle of a butterfly with a frog or other insects.
- Discover why butterflies have such different patterns and colors on their wings.
- Investigate the aerodynamics involved in how a butterfly flies.
- How have butterflies evolved over time?
- What do butterflies eat/drink? How do they survive?
- Where do different species of butterfly live?
- Are there any traditions or legends you can find about butterflies?
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