Movement/Dance is being used to teach STEM processes, especially those that take place at less accessible physical and temporal scales. Dance/movement can be used in undergraduate classrooms to teach, among other topics,
- the action of ATP synthase
- the movement of blood through the human body
- the workings of an electron transport chain
- the role of wave action in marine habitats
- transport within the vascular systems of plants
- the evolution of locomotion in vertebrate lineages
When movement is used in STEM teaching, students encounter a novel way to learn the physical, chemical, and energetic components of systems. Students given full responsibility for developing a dance must ask questions about the science and have a rigorous understanding of their topic. Dance allows students to explore ‘what if’ scenarios, to test hypotheses that would be difficult or impossible to test otherwise. Movement/dance allows students to express themselves creatively and as individuals, building connections to their core identities. Through this work, they are required to analyze and use the science, and are able to do so even when typical research facilities are lacking. If turned into a performance, dance/movement allows students to share what they have learned in a novel and engaging way. The importance of joy in learning can’t be understated!
Want to get involved right now? This Thursday, become part of a human DNA strand at MIT! http://mit-human-dna-esli.eventbrite.com/?goback=.gmp_27230.gde_27230_member_229261384
Dance is also used at the graduate and professional levels (more on that later) of science. The Dance Your Ph.D. Contest, sponsored by Science Magazine and AAAS, exhorts scientists to express themselves through dance, saying, “You’re a scientist. With your superpowers comes the responsibility to communicate the thrill of science to the public. Yes, sometimes in dance form. So dance like you mean it.”
Check out Dance Your Ph.D.: http://gonzolabs.org/dance/videos/
It’s good enough for scores of Ph.D. scientists. Is it good enough for your students?
If you aren’t convinced yet, then watch this amazing Ted Talk by John Bohannon of Harvard University, the founder of Dance Your Ph.D.:
Now off to practice my jazz hands…