Spring Mountain Elementary



Artist- Nicole McCall



Essential Question and Student Understanding

Essential Question:  

How does using movement as an instructional strategy impact the students’ understanding of Relationships?

Students will understand that:

SYSTEMS and SYSTEMS MODELS are built on the interconnected RELATIONSHIPS of individual components.    

Our Goal is that students will be able to use OBSERVATIONAL THINKING, SNAPSHOT, TABLEAU, and ABA to describe parts of the solar system, put those parts together through teamwork, and create a moving model of our solar system.


Anchor Standards

National Core Art Standards (choose one): 

Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. 

Catholic Identity Standards

Students will be able to work cooperatively, and respect each other’s ideas, roles and abilities.


Relevant/Anchor Texts (See Common Core Appendix B, for examples)

Pictures of Planets, Sun, Moon

Pictures of Orbital Paths in Solar System


Right Brain Arts-Based Strategy/ies modeled during the residency

Observational Thinking, Tableau, ABA, Snapshot


Pre-residency (include introducing students to artform/teaching artist/content)


Residency Day #1

Solar System Component: Planets

Dance Concept: Shaping

Arts Integration Strategy:  Observational Thinking, Snapshot, ABA

Dance Activity: Free Dance (within ABA framework), if time allows

GOAL:  Students will be able to take their observations and translate that into kinesthetic movements and shapes.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Introductions/Rules
  2. Braindance warmup
  3. Introduce OBSERVATIONAL THINKING with pictures of the Planets (Step 1 in building our model)
  1. Divide the class into 2 groups.
  2. Hand out Anchor Texts (pictures of solar system planets, sun, moon), ask students to OBSERVE it in silence for 1 minute.
  3. DESCRIBE what they observed--all the details they saw, read, noticed (written in their books or verbal)
  4. Report back to the group what their partner said (classroom teacher to write down these details in a T formatted poster).
  5. INFER--be like a detective--what conclusions or ideas they can make from the descriptions. (draw lines connecting descriptions to inferences.)
  1. Play SNAPSHOT
  1. Give students opportunities to “be” their planets.

  1. AB*A--if time allows
  1. A= Snapshot
  2. B= Free Dance Inspired by your Planet--*across the floor might be best for this
  3. A= Snapshot


Try using Observational Thinking as a tool for character study in Language Arts or another relevant subject.


Residency Day #2

Solar System Component: Gravity/Intertia

Dance Concept: Relationship/Partnering

Arts Integration Strategy: ABA

Dance Activity: Chopsticks

GOAL:  Students will learn how to work as partners to demonstrate the forces of gravity and inertia through dance.

Lesson Plan:

  1. Braindance warmup
  2. Review Snapshot
  1. What planet were you?  “When I turn you on, show me your planet.”
  1. Review Observational Thinking:  Observe, Describe, Infer
  2. Introduce Gravity/Inertia
  1. Gravity= a force that pulls
  2. Inertia= things in motion, tend to stay in motion
  1. Play Chopsticks/Mirror Dance
  1. 1st= Give each student a chopstick to hold between hands.  Free dance keeping the chopstick connected
  2. 2nd= Pair up and free dance keeping chopstick connected
  3. 3rd= Remove the chopstick and see if they can play the mirror dance game without the chopstick.  Keeping the same amount of space between each other and “mirror” each other’s movements.
  1. Add on to our Solar System Dance
  1. Snapshot of your planet, Free Dance as your Planet, End in a Snapshot next to a partner (whoever is closest)
  2. Mirror dance with your partner (to show relationship of intertia and gravity)


Try using Snapshot as a brainbreak.


Residency Day #3

Science Concept: Orbit

Dance Concept: Pathways

Arts Integration Strategy:

Dance Game: Line Shadow Game

Goal: Students will be able to use Locomotor and teamwork skills to move inspired by orbits.  

Lesson Plan:

  1. Braindance warmup
  2. Review Observational Thinking: Observe, Describe, Infer
  3. Review Snapshot
  4. Introduce Orbit/Pathways
  5. Play Line Shadow Game
  1. Follow the Leader type game using Locomotor skills
  2. Leader must choose straight, curvy, or zizag pathways
  3. Rotate leaders
  1. Add on to our dance
  1. ABA of your planet (finish connected to a partner)
  2. Mirror dance (to show intertia/gravity)
  3. Slither.io (pathways/orbit dance)--end in CS (center stage)


Keep looking for places you could try Observational Thinking or Snapshot.


Residency Day #4

Dance Prep Day!

Science Concept:  Revolution and Rotation and Model Building

Dance Concept: Performer/Audience ettiquette

Arts Strategy:  ABA, Tableau

Goal: It all comes together-- students will create a moving model of the solar system.  If time allows, they will also learn the strategy of Tableau and use it to end their dance. (Snapshot can be used instead if time is short.)

Lesson Plan:

  1. Braindance Warmup
  2. Practice our dance--
  1. ABA as our planet--finish next to a partner
  2. Mirror Dance--to show gravity/intertia
  3. Slither.io to gather Center Stage
  4. Solar System model
  5. Tableau
  1. Teach Tableau (essentially a group Snapshot) at the end if time allows.
  1. Have each group perform for each other--Use Observational Thinking as an audience to absorb feedback (are they using their whole body? Are they moving with variety?)

NOTE:  This day was planned as a response to feedback that the children really liked preparing a more “performance” piece for each other, and this was designed to help them do that.  


Keep looking for places you could try Observational Thinking or Snapshot.

If your group learned Tableau, try using it today.  


Residency Day #5

Informance Day!

Dance Concept: Focus

Dance Game: They choose their favorite

Lesson Plan:

  1. Braindance Warmup
  2. Vote/Do favorite dance game: line shadow, chopsticks, across the floor
  3. Practice the dance
  4. Perform the dance for each other
  5. Group dance party if time allows

Extensions of Residency

What will classroom teacher do after the residency to continue utilizing the arts-based strategy?

It is my hope that OBSERVATIONAL THINKING and SNAPSHOT will find a permanent place in these classrooms.