Lesson Plan: Dancing Around the World! G 4 - 6

Written By: Stacy Richards
Grade Level: 4 - 6th Grade

Time Allotment

50 Minutes


Students will explore different traditions of body movements and the role of music associated with ethnic dances. Students will gain a knowledge and appreciation for people of different cultures as they learn the cultural dances.

Subject Matter

Physical Education; History; Social Studies; Music; Art

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast body movements and patterns to their own culture.
  • Demonstrate movement patterns and concepts associated with a specific cultural dance.
  • Demonstrate the value of self-expression in dance and music.
  • Demonstrate appropriate social interaction during physical activity.
  • Media Components - Video/Web

    Syp Simeon
    Written directions to perform the dance - http://dingo.sbs.arizona.edu/~carnie/folkdance/PDFs/SypSimeon.pdf

    Syp Simeon
    Video performance of the dance. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpwWO5NycOg

    Definition and history of the Troika dance - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troika_(dance)

    You Tube
    Video of a class performing the Troika dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg-YL0X7YhA


  • A computer/iPad and projector to show the video clips.
  • CD player to play the specific music.
  • Large piece of paper or white board and a marker to make a list of inferences.
  • Teacher Preparation

    Teachers will need to:
  • Have this video clip saved on their computer or saved on their computer.
  • Have the definitions and written directions to the dances to be performed.
  • Have the music needed for the dance.
  • Practice the dance movements.
  • Introductory Activities

    1. Dances give us information about the culture they come from. Today we are going to learn two folk dances and we are going to conclude who came up with these dances, why they came up with them and how are they different or similar to other dances.
    2. Watch the Syp Simeon video with the lights on.
    3. Students can be sitting or standing and start to perform the dance at their own pace.
    4. Repeat so students can enjoy the change in tempo as they become familiar with the movements.
    5. Watch the Troika video with the lights on. This clip is to be used to made inferences about the Russian culture. Students will perform the Troika as the culminating activity.

    Learning Activities

    1. Review the concept of making inferences: As we read books, we don’t have to be told everything by the author; often we can “read between the lines,” using evidence from the book to understand more about the character or events than the author tells us directly.
    2. Have a large piece of paper or a white board available to make a visual list of inferences related to the dances and the evidence that supports it. Make some preliminary guesses about the people and culture that produced Syp Simeon, with evidence from the dance. Continue the list by making inferences about the people who created and dance the Troika.
    3. What can we infer about Russia from the Syp Simeon? Troika? Examples of inferences:
      1. People in this culture are playful and have a sense of humor; we know because Syp Simeon is like a game, with humorous gestures.
      2. They probably like to dance at festivals; we know because these dances are joyful and celebratory.
      3. People in this culture are excitable and energetic; we know because the moves in their dances are fast and energetic.
      4. Different ages of people probably dance together; we know because the patterns are simple and repetitious, and also because the Troika uses trios instead of duets (so they’re not courtship dances).
      5. These people are full of spirit! We know because they move fast and have fun!
    4. Conclude the inferences asking the students: Are these characteristics we know, or are we just guessing? How could we check our guesses? …Research!

    Culminating Activity

    Replay the Troika video and divide students into groups of 3.
    Demonstrate the dance choreography and have the students perform the dance.
    Repeat as students become more familiar with the dance steps.

    Cross-Curricular Activity

    Students could:
  • Do a research project in history on a specific culture and their dance origination.
  • Create an art project to correlate with a specific culture.
  • Create their own dance choreography to a folk song.
  • Community Connections

    Students could either create their own choreography or learn an existing choreography to a folk song and perform it to the community.
    Students could create a piece of art that is inspired by a culture and open a showing to the public.