Dance and Move | Ophea Teaching Tools

    Dance and Move

    Physical Activity Level
    • Moderate

    • Gymnasium

    • Multipurpose

    • Outdoors

      • Appendix B

      • Appendix D

      • Audio equipment and music

      • Station Cards (see GETTING ACTIVE)

    Safety Considerations

    Students should follow a safe movement pattern between the stations. Remind students to be aware of the personal space of others as they move.


    Students will actively and safely explore a variety of dances through a series of stations.

    Warm Up

    Moving to Music

    • Select some up-tempo music to play during this activity (optional).
    • Demonstrate and lead students in different stationary activities performed on the spot (e.g., walk, jog, run).
    • Ask a volunteer to demonstrate one slow dance move, and ask everyone to follow.
    • Ask other students to lead a dance move, with each student moving faster than the previous one.
    • Continue for 1 or 2 minutes.
    Getting Active

    Dance and Move

    • Set up 9 stations around the activity area.
    • Students divide themselves into small groups of 2-4 and select a starting station.
    • Students work at their station for 30 seconds or until you signal for them to move to the next station.

    Station 1 - Bird Dance: Students stand with arms bent at the elbows and hands open. Hands are opened and shut 4 times. Hands are then put under the armpits to create “wings”, and the bent arms are lifted parallel to shoulders, and then down to the sides 4 times. The body is then twisted from one side to the other 4 times, with knees bending so that body is slowly lowered toward the floor. Students then stand back up and clap hands 4 times. Repeat the sequence.

    Station 2 - Crow Hop: Students imitate bird-like movements, hopping side to side like a crow, first on one foot and then on the other while spreading arms widely. If music is used, then each footfall matches a beat of the drum.

    Station 3 - Cross Bends: Students stand and bend knees, lowering body toward the floor. One hand is in front of body and touching the floor, while the other is simultaneously behind the body and touching the floor. The students then stand back up, repeating the sequence, switching front and back hands.

    Station 4 - Disco Fever: Students stand with feet apart. They alternate between pointing their right arm (finger pointed) down across the left hip, and then stretching their arm (finger pointed) diagonally up to the right. They repeat with the left arm and continue alternating.,

    Station 5 - Stomp Dance: Students stand in a circle, moving counter clockwise while listening to the beat. They should stomp or step and move around the circle every time a beat is heard. (Consider playing a Stomp Dance song, from the Iroquois.)

    Station 6 - Fancy Scarf Dance/Grass Dance: Students form groups of 2. One member of the pair brings foot down with the beat of the drum, taps the ground, and makes wide sweeping motions, pretending to stomp the grass. The second student follows the drum beats by lifting and moving feet while twirling and moving arms. Move quickly, kicking and twirling to the beat. (Consider playing a powwow song.)

    Station 7 - Macarena: Students perform moves of the Macarena dance (palms down, palms up, cross-touch shoulders, touch head, cross-touch waist, touch hips, twist, jump, and turn).

    Station 8 - Rabbit Dance: Students pick a partner and face each other. Everyone forms a circle, with one partner on the inside of the circle and the second on the outside. There should now be two circles of students. Say, “cross arms and join hands with your partner. Turn to your right and begin in unison, one step forward, one step back, one step forward, one step back. Stay in time with the beat, keeping hands together.” (Consider playing a Rabbit Dance song, from the Iroquois.)

    Station 9 - The Twist: Students place feet shoulder width apart and arms at the side, elbows bent. They twist body from left to right, squatting down toward the ground and then standing up. Repeat the sequence.

    Cool Down

    Round Dance

    • Play a Round Dance song (see Appendix D).
    • Students form a circle and hold hands.
    • Moving clockwise, students do a side-shuffle step with knees bent, keeping to the beat of the drums’ long-short pattern.
    • To finish, students inhale deeply and slowly as they stretch up as tall as possible. As they exhale slowly, they bend forward at the waist, letting their arms relax and sway.
    • Lead (or ask a student to lead) a series of stretches. Consult the examples in Appendix B.
    Other Considerations
    • Connections could be made to the traditions and celebrations (i.e., heritage and citizenship) strand of the social studies curriculum. For example, ask students to discuss celebrations in which they participate that include music and dance. Ask a local Elder or cultural teacher to explain dance traditions and stories from your community. Talk about the significance of certain dances in the community/region / nation.
    • Playing music that corresponds to the 9 stations can help to inspire/motivate students to keep to the beat of songs and to increase their activity levels. However, certain dances require specific songs, so a generic song cannot be played at all stations. Use iPods or CDs at different stations if possible. See Appendix D for examples of suitable music.
    • If multiple audio sets are not available, consider completing the 9 stations as one large group.