Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning Transformations Through Dance

I am wrapping up our first unit in Grade 7 with our Data Management unit and our infographics of Who Are We. Every year this intro unit doesn't reach the level of design I want it to, but we do reach a great level of understanding in middle school organization expectations, homework management, class routines and friendships. I always need to remind myself that I purposefully do this unit first since it allows my students to focus on these other areas and not be stressed about the mathematical concepts.

Moving forward, I can now challenge them in their thinking in the classroom. My next term is a combination of geometry, algebra, number sense and measurement. To start we are going to be looking at transformations using dance as a way to introduce the vocabulary. I was inspired by a video I saw about a year ago from Math in Your Feet of a teacher doing the activity. Here is the video and below are my outline and goals.

Step 1: Dance Creation
Students are divided into pairs. Students stand an arms length away from each other and each within a 50 x 50 cm square. In this square, the two students create a short dance that includes foot, hand and body movement. They practice this until they both know the moves and can do it in synchronization.

Step 2: Vocabulary
Students are then slowly introduced to the vocabulary of origin, translation, dilation, rotation and reflection. One person in their box is told they are the origin. The other person is the translation or reflection. After an explanation of what there terms mean, the students then dance their dance in both situations. For the translation, nothing changes. Students see the movements are the same, but just not in the same box. However, when a reflection occurs, the origin does the original, while the other student completes the reflection. You can probably picture what happens with the others as well. Students practice each of these, switching who is the origin.

Step 3: Combination and Share
Students are partnered up with another group. The teacher calls out one or two terms. The students must dance their dance with these transformations. The other group is watching to see if they make a mistake and provide feedback. The teacher may say "translate, rotate 90 degrees and reflect". Students must understand what this means and preform.

Step 4: Music video analysis
As a possible homework activity, students watch a short segment of a popular music video and analyze the dance moves. They given the moves the transformation terms. They can also then identify who is the origin and also which types of moves occur more frequently. As a comparison, different people could get music videos from different countries to see what kind of transformations are more population there.

I am looking forward to trying this out. I am hoping it will take 2 periods and the homework to complete. After this, and they have the vocabulary down, we move onto geometric shapes on paper.

If you have any ideas of recommendations of how to make this better please let me know. 

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