Dance – Lesson 2


For the children to explore body and spatial awareness through the use of varied body activities and shapes in space.
For the children to explore a range of movements associated with the butterfly.


For the children to explore movements that represent undulating flight.

A range of body awareness raising activities, including:

  • warming up body parts
  • opening and closing
  • wrapping arm gestures
  • transforming from one form into another.


This lesson is designed to expand the children's knowledge of and interest in butterflies and their movement qualities.


  • Heavy material mat
  • Downloaded images of butterfly species, coloured and laminated
  • Reference book that presents clear photographs of a range of butterfly species
  • Tambour
  • Hum drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • CD player
  • Selected recorded music – Peter Mumme’s 'Veronica Takes a Bath' and Tchaikovsky's 'Waltz of the Flowers'
  • Drawing boards, A4 white paper and black fine liner pens

Welcome/ Introduction

The children are invited to take their shoes and socks off and leave them in a designated area of the room.
(Teacher’s script in italics)

Come and join me on the mat, but before you do you can leave your shoes and socks in the shoe shop.

The children are asked to gather on the mat and the teacher provides a number of 'advance organisers' to prepare them for the content of the lesson.

Remember that in our dance class we begin with a welcome on this mat and talk about what we will learn in our class. We listen carefully to the teacher and find a space in the room when we are invited, then we warm up our bodies. Today we will be exploring the movements of the butterfly.

The teacher presents the visual stimuli. The children’s attention is focused on the characteristics of a range of butterfly species, such as Moonlight Jewel Butterfly, Cruiser Butterfly, Bird Wing Butterfly, and Evening Brown Butterfly. The teacher leads a discussion by asking open-ended questions.

I want to show you some photographs of different butterflies. Can you tell me what you think of when you see them?

What differences can you see among them?

What beautiful names they have. Do their names make you think of anything special?

How do you think these butterflies move?

Where do they live?

Where do they rest?

Where do they go when it rains?

Entering the space

Playing light bells or a held glockenspiel, the teacher names children one by one to enter the space and to make a body shape.

When you hear your name called you can move into the space to make a body shape.

When all children are in the space the teacher joins the children to lead the warm up.

Warm up

With the children remaining in their spaces, the teacher models warming up different parts of the body. Up-tempo music is played to provide additional stimulation.

A number of tracks of Peter Mumme’s music 'Veronica Takes a Bath' work well for this.

Find a space and now let’s warm up different parts of our bodies.

Hands – shaking high and low, out to the sides, clapping high low from side to side

Arms – shaking, lifting/lowering, swinging

Legs – stamping, shaking, swinging backwards and forwards, tiptoe steps on the spot

Feet – wriggling and curling toes, stamping 

Has anyone got any other ideas of how we can warm up our bodies?

Let’s move through the space.

The teacher changes the locomotor activity accordingly: walking, skipping, light slow running, tiptoeing.

Whole group movement exploration and practice of skills

Today we are going to feel what it is like to open and close our wings.

Using Tchaikovsky’s 'Waltz of the Flowers' as a stimulus, the teacher guides the children through the movement sequence of opening and closing arms, firstly in place, and then adding a light run/skip with arms lifting and lowering.

Lift and lower your arms, lift and lower your arms.

Feel the lightness of your movements, and extend your arms out as far as they can reach.

Move about the room lifting and lowering your arms.

The teacher models the extended elevated arm gestures and the dynamic quality of the movements.

Find a place to rest. When you rest, wrap your arms around your body like this.

In your resting place unwrap your arms and lift and lower them, imagining that you are a very light Moonlight Jewel Butterfly resting on a leaf in the moonlight.

Repeat this a few times. If the children’s focus and interest are still present, the teacher can direct half the class to sit on the mat, and half the class to perform their 'lifting and lowering, wrapping and unwrapping, and flying and landing' dance. The teacher gauges the end of the half group performances by saying:

Find an ending. I want all butterflies to land gently on a leaf and be still.

The performers at the end of their dance are acknowledged with an enthusiastic clap from the audience. The teacher asks the audience members the following questions.  

What did you see when you watched this dance?

What did you think about this dance?

What did you wonder about this dance?

The group that has been the audience is invited to dance and the group that has danced becomes the audience.

Solo and small group 'free dance'

The whole group is invited to return to the mat. The teacher selects small groups, individuals or pairs to perform any dance they like to the sound of the hum drum (or taped music). The children are asked to make starting shapes in the space and to begin to dance when the music begins.  Respectful audience behaviours are encouraged by the teacher. The teacher affirms children's contributions in a positive way.

I like that leap.

I can see some interesting floor movements.

I like the way you are running.

The teacher helps the children to vary their movement explorations.

If you have been running, try moving on the floor.

After several minutes, the teacher helps the children to conclude their dance in stillness and in an interesting body shape.

Find an ending. Make your body into an interesting shape.

Performers are invited to talk about their dances with the 'I see, I think, I wonder' thinking routine structuring the oral feedback. Audience members are encouraged to describe what they have observed.

All children are given an opportunity to enjoy 'free dance'.


The children are asked to find a space in the room in which to lie down and listen to quiet, relaxing music. The teacher moves about the room using long, light, sustained stroking movements from top of head through to feet, making contact with each child.

Reflective drawing/telling  

The children are provided with drawing boards, A4 white paper, and black fine liner pens.

Can you draw something that you remember from the class today?

When the drawings are complete, the children present their work to the teacher.

The teacher asks each child to tell me about your drawing.

The children's words are then transcribed onto their individual drawings to be included in the dance portfolio.

When the children have completed their drawing, they are asked to put on their shoes and socks. When all children are ready, a farewell gesture is initiated by the teacher to conclude the lesson. This farewell gesture is modelled by the children.

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.