Third grade students will dance the following basic geometric terms: line, point, line segment, ray, parallel lines, intersection, vertex and angle. They will also dance about perimeters, areas, polygons and quadrilaterals.

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Art Forms





Jana Shumway



Estimated Time:  about 1 hour


No introduction. Just start dancing and explaining as you go.


Dance the Following Basic Geometric Terms.

See definitions below under “Vocabulary”. Use visuals to help deepen their understanding.

Line - Slide with arms out to sides along a straight line forever (keep sliding even when you get to the wall or an object) 

Point - Spin in place

Line segment (with end points) - Spin in place - slide a straight line - spin in place

Ray - Spin in place - slide a straight line forever (keep sliding even when you get to the wall or an object) 

Parallel lines - dance with arms parallel; dance with legs parallel; dance parallel with a partner 

Intersection - create many shapes with intersecting lines using arms, legs, torsos, a partner, an object, etc.

 Vertex - make shapes with a vertex (corner of an angle) being different body parts (for example: make a shape where the vertex is your armpit / neck / elbow / knee / ankle / hip, etc)

Angle - create an angle with your body as one ray and your arm as another ray; try both legs as rays; try

other angles (obtuse, acute and right angles); add in the a specific vertex (make a shape of an obtuse angle with your neck being the vertex); try angles with a partner (with your partner make an acute angle with your hips being the vertex, etc.)

Perimeter and Area

Use lines on the floor: Find a circle (or rectangle, etc.) and slide on the perimeter. Then make a shape on the perimeter; try a connecting shape on the perimeter; etc. Then get inside the shape and dance, jump, skip, etc. in the area.

Do not use lines on the floor: Boys make the perimeter of a circle by holding hands. Girls dance in the area. Girls make the perimeter of a circle by connecting their feet (or heads, or knees, or elbows, etc). Boys dance in the area. Have each group (the boy and girl groups) design three creative perimeters of circles. (One might be lying down, one might face backwards, one might have heads connected, etc). If there’s time try creating perimeters of other shapes like rectangles or triangles, etc.


A polygon is a line segment that is closed with no curves. Try creating polygons with small elastics. (Using 1” elastic, create a circle by sewing the ends together. Make the circle of elastic big enough to go from your chin to the floor while you’re standing). The students can create the polygons while stretching the elastic with their hands, feet, behind their knees, on top of their heads, behind their backs, lying down, etc. Next try making pentagons, hexagons and octagons.


Now try creating squares, rectangles, parallelogram, trapezoid, and rhombus with the small elastics. You can also provide huge circles of elastics and have them try the polygons and quadrilaterals with the big elastics in small groups.


Have the students get into small groups and create a mini “geometry dance” by following the guidelines below. You can start with one dance (your choice) and if there’s time you could do more dances.



Decide how to dance the following basic terms:


Decide which direction to go. Will it be the same or different for your whole group? Do

you want to do the same or different timing? Start and end the dance in a shape.


Make 3 creative PERIMETERS.

Use your heads, legs, elbows . . . lie down, kneel down, turn backwards, etc.

Choose from a circle or quadrilaterals (parallelogram, rhombus or trapezoid).

Do you want to add dancers in the area? How will they dance? How will you transit from

one perimeter to the next?


Using small or big elastics, create 3-4 of the following GEOMETRIC SHAPES. Put transitions in between each shape.

Parallelogram - has 4 sides. 2 sets of lines are parallel Trapezoid - has 4 sides. 2 lines are parallel

Rhombus - has 4 sides that are equal in length Pentagon - has 5 sides (and 5 vertexes)

Hexagon - has 6 sides (and 6 vertexes) Octagon - has 8 sides (and 8 vertexes)


Make 4 really interesting POLYGONS. Do not use elastics, only use your bodies. Remember the lines must be straight and cannot cross (or intersect). The shape needs to be closed. Use your arms, legs, whole bodies, lie down, sit down, kneel down, etc. Connect each person in the group. Choose one locomotor step and an interesting floor pattern to transition from one polygon to the next. 


Have the students perform their dances for the rest of the class. Have the audience point out the geometric concepts in each dance. The students could also create a class dance containing some of the above ideas and perform it at an informance.

Review the above vocabulary. Look around and connect the geometric terms to what you can find in the room. Create a visual art project that includes the same geometric terms and shapes.    


Integration Information



Third grade students will understand basic terms of geometry: line, point, line segment, ray, parallel lines, intersection, vertex, angle, perimeter, area, polygons and quadrilaterals. They will do this through exploration with movement and simple choreographic assignments.




Music: I use “Drive Away (End Title)” by Thomas Newman

Elastics: small circles for individual use and big circles for group use

Visuals of geometric shapes

Word strips and visuals of the basic terms


Summative Assessment: You can have a discussion or quiz at the end of the lesson; or have the students share what they learned with a partner and then report to another group of students or to you as to what they learned. They can also demonstrate their understanding through choreographic assignments (but be sure the objectives are clear for the assignment and then make sure they meet those objectives).

Formative Assessment: While the kids are dancing watch to see if they are understanding the concepts. If not, sidecoach them to help them understand.



Historical Element

Fine Art Standards

The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.     

The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements (time, space, energy and motion) in performing dance.

Integrated Standards

MD.C Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and to addition. 3.MD.D Geometric measurement: recognize perimeter as an attribute of plane figures and distinguish between linear and area measures.