Submitted by Jan Adams, Winston-Salem/Forsyth Schools

Lesson Title
Perimeter Dances

Grade Level or Course
4th Grade Dance (can be adapted for 5th grade)

Time Allotment
45 minutes

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the 2000 North Carolina Arts Education Standard Course of Study and Grade Level Competencies, K-12:


4.01 - Create and explore multiple solutions to a given movement problem.

5.02 - Investigate aspects of dance in various cultures and historical periods.

7.01 - Identify concepts which occur between dance and other content areas including English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Music, Theatre Arts, and Visual Arts.

7.02 - Create a dance sequence that demonstrates understanding of a concept or idea from another content area.

Targeted Goals and Objectives from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and Grade
Level Competencies, K-12
for other content areas.

Mathematics (Spatial sense, measurement, and geometry)
-Identifying points, lines and angles in the environment
-Using representations and appropriate vocabulary (sides, angles, and vertices) to identify properties of plane figures


Lesson Objective(s):

Using forward, back, and lateral Latin dance steps, students will create "Perimeter" dances in which they dance in a square or rectangle and calculate the perimeter and area of their dances. As an extension, students will analyze the relationship of perimeter and area, creating multiple dances with the same area.

With this lesson, the students will be able to :

  1. extend their understanding of Latin dance steps,

  2. apply this dance knowledge to further their understanding of the concepts of perimeter and area,

  3. use problem-solving strategies to create multiple dances of the same perimeter.

Materials/Equipment Needed:

  • CD or tape player with examples of Latin dance music.

  • Paper

  • Pencils

  • Optional: Video player and video of Latin dances such as "Latin Dances for Beginners" by Teachers Video Company (item #LDFB).


Lesson Procedure:

(Pre-lesson activities: students need to be familiar with a variety of Latin dance steps: mambo, rumba, meringue, etc. These could, however, be replaced with any line dance steps.)

  1. Warm up, reviewing a variety of Latin dance steps that move forward, back, or laterally.

  2. Discuss the idea that different dances use space in different ways, and explain that we are going to use these Latin dance steps to create a dance in a rectangle.

  3. Demonstrate for the students, having them follow you in a rectangular dance.

  4. Ask students to sit down and recall the shape of the dance. Draw it on the board, and label the number of steps on each side. Then ask what the term "perimeter" means. Tell them that the unit of measure that we are using is "dance steps." Have the students calculate the perimeter of the dance they just danced. Repeat with another teacher-led dance.

  5. Ask the students to create, with a partner, their own Latin perimeter dance. After they have danced it, supply pencil and paper for each couple to draw and calculate the perimeter of their dance.


  6. Discuss area, and ask students to calculate the area of the dance they have created.

  7. Ask all students to create a dance with the perimeter of 24. Before beginning, have them predict whether the dances will all have the same area. Have them create, draw, then calculate the perimeter and area.

  8. Discuss, as a class, the different ways they solved the problem (i.e. guess and check, draw the dance, create a chart and find a pattern, etc.) Also, discuss the different areas that were calculated.

Assessment:(See Assessment Item that aligns with this Lesson)

  1. Knowledge of Latin dance steps can be observed.

  2. The creation of a perimeter is a performance assessment task that can be assessed both by observation and by the drawn figure with the calculation of perimeter and area.

  3. This is a great opportunity to create, with the teacher, a checklist assessment or rubric for a successful Latin perimeter dance.

Special Considerations:

This is an example of a technique I call the "up, down, up, down class," which starts with active involvement of dance concepts and includes several interludes of discussion or analysis. It has been a successful way for me to integrate the dance curriculum into other areas.

Supplemental resources/ information for teachers:

A variety of Latin dance videos are available from Teach Video Company - Dance (1.800.262.8837).

Relevant web sites:

Problem Solver is a publication of math solving strategies for students.


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