Arts Integration in Practice


What are some arts integration connections to science?

Classroom Example: Dance

Classroom Example

Integrating Science and Dance
Dancing Science: Understanding the Relationship between Sun and Earth

Third grade students at Bailey’s Elementary School (Fairfax County Public Schools, VA) explored energy, patterns, and cycles—concepts and vocabulary shared by dance and science— to better understand the relationship between the sun and Earth. This slide show, with captions written by the third graders, captures the students’ dance presentation demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of science and dance. The process unfolded during five lessons.

Teaching Artist Interviews

Meet four Kennedy Center teaching artists who connect science with dramatization and dance/movement.

Drama Example (grades K-12)
According to Karen Erickson, there are stories in science. When students identify the “characters” (e.g., wind, rocks) and the force or conflict between them, they can create and dramatize stories that transform static science facts into dynamic, active student-centered explorations.

Dance Example 1 (grades 3-8)
“Everything in the universe is moving” says Randy Barron. His work with students explores big ideas in science (such as the water cycle) using the elements of dance to construct descriptive and clarifying movement sequences.

Dance Example 2 (grades 2-8)
Kimberli Boyd’s work focuses on sequence, a concept shared by dance and science. By engaging students in creating dances about topics such as the growth cycle of plants, students have opportunities to explore sequence, process ideas, and retain information.

Dance Example 3 (grades 3-8)
Through structured movement explorations, Harlan Brownlee involves students in constructing and demonstrating their understanding of physical science laws of inertia and gravity, as well as the concept of density.


Editors & Producers

Amy Duma
Director, Teacher and School Programs
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Lynne B. Silverstein
Senior Program Consultant
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Kenny Neal
Manager, Digital Education Resources

Karen L. Erickson, Kennedy Center Teaching Artist, leads national workshops, and is a keynote speaker and seminar leader. She is Executive Director of Creative Directions and provides leadership in arts education internationally and throughout the states. Ms. Erickson offers professional development for teachers in curriculum integration, assessment, long range planning, professional development preparation, drama education initiatives and curriculum mapping. She also provides professional development to artists in arts education practices. She is the author of eight books on drama and education including The Arts: Keystones to Learning and Getting Started with Drama and is a co-author of the Illinois Fine Arts Resource Guide and Illinois State Standards among other documents. Ms. Erickson continues to work as a playwright, poet, and director. creativedirections.org

Randy Barron is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist. Since 1980, he has designed and led numerous arts-integrated residencies for students and has led over 200 professional development workshops for teachers in 36 states. Mr. Barron danced and choreographed professionally for 20 years, appearing with ballet and modern dance companies across the United States and was Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director of City in Motion Dance Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. He has been a charter high school director, a charter school founder, a curriculum writer, and even a school bus driver. Mr. Barron also holds a B.S. degree in biology from Rockhurst University, and is a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B). He lives on the Santa Fe Trail in northeastern New Mexico.

Kimberli Boyd is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist who is a dancer, teaching artist, and arts-in-education consultant. She has toured extensively, conducting workshops and residencies nationally and internationally. Her work with students and educators Pre-K through 12 and beyond, integrates basic elements and principles of dance with best practices in teaching and learning. Her approach enhances student learning, critical thinking, literacy, and creativity in core subject areas. A graduate of Florida State University and the Midwest Brain and Learning Institute, and a former member of the critically acclaimed Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Washington, D.C., Ms. Boyd is the founding artistic director of “Dancing Between the Lines” solo performance company and arts-as-education organization based in the Detroit metropolitan area. dancingbetweenthelines.com

Harlan Brownlee is a Kennedy Center Teaching Artist. As President and CEO of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, he possesses a passion for the arts guided by a disciplined approach to change. Understanding the transformational power that the arts have to improve the quality of life for a community, he has led the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City in developing community partnerships dedicated to ensuring access to the arts and cultural development for the region. Mr. Brownlee has worked for 28 years in the arts field as a performing artist, arts educator, and arts administrator. From 2005 to 2009, he served as the Executive Director for Kansas City Young Audiences.

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