Arts ESU2
Performing Arts, Mathematics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Primary
  • Computer Science
  • Dance
  • NE CIS
  • NE Dance
  • NE Visual Arts
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • computer-science
  • dance
  • ne-cis
  • ne-dance
  • ne-visual-arts
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    Education Standards

    Algorithms & Dance

    Algorithms & Dance


    This resource was created by Jenny Motacek, in collaboration with Dawn DeTurk, Hannah Blomstedt, and Julie Albrecht, as part of ESU2's Integrating the Arts project. This project is a four year initiative focused on integrating arts into the core curriculum through teacher education, practice, and coaching.

    Content Area: Technology

    Fine Arts Area: Dance

    Grade Level: 5

    Teacher:  Jenny Motacek


    Standards and Alignment

    Content Area Standard:

    Create algorithms, or series of ordered steps, to solve problems.

    Fine Arts Standard:

    FA 5.3.1.b Create movement sequences that combine a variety of dance elements (glossary) and images (e.g., combine multiple ideas or images to create a movement sequence). *Make a movement sequence using student examples of “excitement”. Create a “when I grow up” movement sequence.

    Key Vocabulary:

    Algorithm: a series of steps to complete a task

    Loop: repeat a sequence of instructions until instructions direct change

    Choreography: the sequence of dance moves used in a dance

    Space: the individual area that each person will need to complete the dance moves

    Time: how fast the dance moves should be completed

    Materials List:

    3X5 Cards



    Lesson Delivery


    Open with a reminder on how computers work with input to produce output. Talk about how computers know what to do. Students should come to the realization or be reminded that computers have to be programmed. Explain that today we will be practicing programming off the computer by coding a dance for our classmates. 


    We will talk about the definition of loops. We will decide on 10 dance moves we can use to choreograph our dance. Consider the amount of space each dance move will take for each student to complete it, and how fast each of the dance moves should be performed (time). Teacher will display the names and we will demonstrate the moves as a class. Students will then create a dance loop by writing the name of the move on a 3X5 card and using a minimum of five moves, put the cards in an order to loop. We will do a gallery walk and the teacher will call out directions for how long the loop will continue. As an example the first round we will complete the dance loop for 3 times. Then students will rotate to the next station and we will complete the dance loop until the teacher claps four times (similar to playing Simon says the teacher can try to “trick” the class and only clap twice etc) This will continue on for 3 to 4 rounds as appropriate. Teachers can then assign the students an online activity that uses loops to help them see a block coding connection to the activity. 


    Possible dance moves for card: clap, stomp, grapevine, hop, raise the roof, jump, dab, 


    Assessment and Reflection

    Content Assessment:

    Arts Assessment:

    Student Reflection:

    Teacher Reflection:


    Visuals and Handouts