Unit Plan: Dance Education
The Unit Plan is assigned in Phase 1 in 07:207:406 Introduction to Curriculum Design &
Assessment for Dance. In the assignment, teacher candidates backward plan a series of
sequential lessons connected around a learning goal and derived from their year-long curriculum
map. This will involve envisioning culturally responsive learning results aligned with state
standards and to EdM candidates’ teaching vision, devising learning objectives and developing
several forms of assessment.
Unit Overview Template
Content Area: Visual and Performing Arts: Dance
Unit Title: Movement Explorers
Target Course/Grade Level: Elementary students (3rd grade), 8 weeks, Three 40-minute periods per
The Movement Explorers Unit merges ideas of language, science, math, and history to enable students
with an understanding of movement that translates across multi-curricular and artistic contexts. Concepts
like the body, effort, space, shape, time, imagery, and sound are explored through an imaginative and
kinesthetic lens. Students will be able to comprehend their physical and emotional impulses while
creating, responding, performing, and connecting with their class. This unit will inform students of the
ways in which movements and the use of non-verbal language is heavily ingrained in our personal and
cultural interactions, as well as societal understandings.
Instilling students with an understanding of movement utilizes social-emotional learning. The Social and
Emotional Learning Framework aims to develop competency in Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social
Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. It draws upon student’s everyday
interactions to adhere to a culturally relevant pedagogy. Additionally, this framework accommodates
children who have difficulty with impulse control and/or focus by providing them with an outlet for
honing in on what they’re seeing, feeling, thinking, and doing. The use of visual and musical stimuli, in
collaboration with the freedom to be imaginative, helps accommodate various learning styles as well as
Learning Targets/Standards Addressed
2. New Jersey Visual & Performing Arts Standards: Dance
1.1.5.Cr1a- Generating and conceptualizing ideas.
1.1.5.Cr2a- Organizing and developing ideas.
1.1.5.Re9a- Interpreting intent and meaning.
1.1.5.Cn10a- Synthesizing and relating knowledge and personal experiences to create products.
1.1.5.Cn11a- Relating artistic ideas and works within societal, cultural, and historical contexts to
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
New Jersey Student Learning Standards- Science
4PS2.A- Forces and Motion
4PS2.B- Types of Interactions
4PS3.C- Relationship Between Energy and Forces
New Jersey Student Learning Standards- Math
4.G.A.3- Geometry; Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines
and angles. (symmetry/asymmetry)
New Jersey Student Learning Standards- Social Studies
6.1.3.CivicsCP.1- Civics, Government, and Human Rights
6.1.3.GeoCP.1- Geography, People, and Environment
6.1.3.HistoryCP.1- History, Culture and Perspectives
New Jersey Student Learning Standards- Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills
9.4.4.CT.2- Develop multiple solutions to a problem and evaluate short and long-term effects to determine
the most plausible option.
NJ Social and Emotional Learning Competencies
Self-Awareness: 01 Recognize one’s feelings and thoughts.
Self-Awareness: 02 Recognize the impact of one’s feelings and thoughts on one’s own behavior.
Self-Management: 05 Understand and practice strategies for managing one’s own emotions, thoughts, and
Social Awareness: 08 Recognize and identify the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others.
Relationship Skills: 13 Utilize positive communication and social skills to interact effectively with others.
Responsible Decision-Making: 19 Evaluate personal, ethical, safety, and civic impact of decisions.
3. Unit Essential Questions
● How does engaging in dance help solidify
an understanding of ourselves and
● How can self-awareness inform
communication and non-verbal
Unit Enduring Understandings
● Dance education uses a body-mind approach to
encourage self-awareness, control, and articulation.
● Dance utilizes creativity and expression to connect
to experiences, people, and places.
Unit Learning Objectives
1. Students will know how to utilize imagery to portray movement, intention, and character.
a. This will be evident as students engage with material that allows them to use personal
experience and preference when responding to/creating movement.
2. Students will be able to analyze, replicate, and interpret movement and intention (Self-Awareness: 02)
a. This goal requires the recognition of one’s own feelings in correspondence to behavior.
3. Students will be able to articulate their thoughts, feelings, and movements. (Self-Awareness: 01)
a. The ability to communicate intention begins with an understanding of one’s own personal,
emotional, and cognitive impulses.
4. Students will be able to efficiently collaborate and value the opinions of peers. (Relationship Skills: 13)
a. This displays the use of interpersonal skills to listen and add to positive communication
amongst peers and others.
5. Students will be able to think critically about the movement patterns we see daily/regularly
a. This goal requires the use of societal, historical, and cultural knowledge to interpret
Evidence of Learning
Summative Assessment (students work on final project for 6-8 days)
My Movement Story Project: Students work in pairs to create a short dance/movement phrase after being
provided with a character, scene, mood, and music.
● Students must utilize the movement alphabet to create a phrase that captures the story of
the provided materials.
● There must be 2-3 elements of each of the following categories: shape, space, time/effort.
● After presenting their work, students will elaborate on their decision-making process and
strategies used to the class (movement alphabet, symmetry/asymmetry, levels, etc.).
4. Equipment Needed:
Stereo, visual media, audio files, whiteboard
Movement Alphabet, LMA concepts/resources, rubric, costumes, music
- Objective #5 (1.1.5.Cn10a, 1.1.5.Cn11a)
● Written and verbal reflections
- Objective #3 (Self-Awareness: 01)
● Classroom discussions
- Objective #4 (Relationship Skills: 13)
● Movement replication,
interpretation, and creation
- Objective #1 (1.1.5.Cn10a)
The Movement Alphabet
Understanding and implementing the movement alphabet
and LMA influences to introduce dynamic ideas of
movement and shape. Becoming familiar with action and
stillness while finding control in thought/action. Finding
ways to explore line and geometric shapes.
The Body and the Brain
Connecting movement concepts from Lesson 1 to interpret
and create movement from stimuli (visual, audio, imagery).
Using personal experience, imagery, and visual inspiration
to replicate, interpret, initiate, and explain movement. The
first two days of the lesson will explore these concepts
through the lens of time/effort before students show personal
5. Lesson 4
Exploring symmetry/asymmetry within movement and
understanding its effect on balance. Layering in elements of
Being able to move through different levels in space with
different initiation points of the body. Displaying an
understanding of different kinespheres.
My Movement Story Project (Sound, space, story)
Working on the development of the term project.
Understanding and utilizing sound to expand upon the ways
movement in space can inform a story/plot development.
Readying movement interpretation from different
The ability to engage with materials involving gross motor skills like independent sitting, crawling,
walking, or running.
Will students with social/emotional deficits be able to participate?
- Students with social/emotional deficits, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), are
able to build on cognitive understanding through movement. The Embodied Simulation Theory assumes
that cognition is essentially grounded in bodily states, emphasizing the connection and attunement
between body and mind in humans (Hildebrandt, 2016, p. 3). Dance is a form of therapy that strategizes
the output of movement in accordance to mental processes. It helps teach self understanding,
communication, and impulse control.
Is this viable when teaching bi/multilingual learners?
Use of visual cues and imagery allows for more information to be communicated with those who have
Curriculum Development Resources
● Kassing, G. & Jay, D.M. (2020). Dance teaching methods and curriculum design:
comprehensive K-12 dance education. Human Kinetics Publishers.
● McCutchen, B.P. (2006). Teaching dance as art in education. Human Kinetics.
● Hildebrandt, M.K., Koch, S.C., & Fuchs, T. (2016). “We dance and find each other”:
Effects of Dance/Movement Therapy on negative symptoms in Autism
Spectrum Disorder. Behavioral Sciences (2076-328X), 6(4), bs6040024. doi:10.3390/
● “The Language of Dance® Center (LODC): AWS.” The Language of Dance® Center (LODC) |