African Dance Lesson Plan: Dance In Our Community

From P.S. 156, The Waverly School of the Arts, African strand

Objective: Children will compare and contrast dance in African communities to dance in the communities in which they live.

Aim: How is African dance different from and similar to dance in our community?

Motivation: Explain that oral traditions such as poetry often are passed down from generation to generation. Steps:

  • Tell children that the poem you are going to read to them is called “Dream Variations.”
  • Explain that it is written by a famous African-American writer names Langston Hughes.
  • Read the poem to the children.
  • Discuss: What is the dream of the child in the poem? (To dance.)

Procedure: Explain that the tradition of dance often is passed down from generation to generation. Steps:

  • Brainstorm the word “dance” with the class.
  • Tell the children that dance has played a major role in daily life in Africa.
  • Hand out a list of facts pertaining to African dance.
  • Choose volunteers to read the fact sheet on African dance.
  • After reading the sheet with the children, tell them that the class is going to divide into groups and learn more about dance.

Group work: Divide the class into four groups. Steps:

  • One group will compare African dance to dance in their community, using a Venn diagram.
  • Another group will think of verbs that describe African dance.
  • The third group will think of verbs that describe dance in their community.
  • The fourth group will write about how they feel when they are dancing, using scanned pictures of themselves.