Dance – Lesson 3


For the children to explore a range of movements associated with the life cycle of the butterfly.


For the children to explore strong, light, and rapid movements that represent the movements of the Nymph Butterfly.


This lesson is designed to extend on the previous week’s lesson content and to expand the children’s knowledge of and interest in butterflies and their movement qualities.


  • Heavy material mat
  • Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Downloaded images of Nymph Butterfly
  • Written text that explains the movements of the Nymph Butterfly
  • Bells
  • Hum drum
  • Glockenspiel
  • CD player
  • 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.

As an introduction to the lesson, the teacher reads Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to focus the children's attention once again on the life cycle of the butterfly.

The teacher also presents the visual stimulus of the Nymph Butterfly and reads the written text.

'Nymph Butterflies are strong and rapid flyers. Most of them are seen flying actively on a sunny day. They rest with their wings facing the sun to warm up their body.'

The teacher leads the discussion asking open-ended questions.

Let’s think about the word strong?

Can you tell me what the word strong means?

How can a butterfly fly strongly?

Let’s think about the word rapid.

Can a butterfly fly rapidly? How?

Let’s think about the word active. If you saw a garden filled with active butterflies what would it look like?

Entering the space

Using the tambour, 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 leads a warm up that focuses on circling movements. The movements begin with circling body parts, then lead to upper body circling.

Hold out your arm and extend it as far as you can. Trace a huge circle in the air around your body. Try the other arm.

Now both arms together. Let’s see if we can make our circling fit in with each other.

Can you think of any other circling ideas? Maybe with your legs or your heads?

Can you join with a partner to create circles together?

Can we add a humming sound to our circling?

Every time you hear the sound of the bells, make another circle.

The teacher leads the children in light running around in a circle and changing direction. Groups of children can create small circles running in both directions at the sound of the bell.

Whole group movement exploration and practice of skills

Today we are going to feel what it is like to try out some of the movements of the Nymph Butterfly.

Can you remember how the Nymph Butterfly flies?

Using the hum drum, the teacher creates a strong and rapid accompaniment for the children to explore these movement qualities.

The children are encouraged to run rapidly through the space, being careful not to bump into anyone else.

When the sound of the drum stops I want you to find a landing spot and face your wings to the sun, just like the Nymph Butterfly.

What shapes can you make with your arms that show to me you are a Nymph Butterfly facing the sun?

Re-introducing Tchaikovsky's 'Waltz of the Flowers', the teacher guides the children through the movement sequence of opening and closing arms, firstly in place, then adding a light run/skip, with arms lifting and lowering, landing and making arm gestures that represent facing wings to the sun.

The teacher models the extended elevated arm gestures and the strong and rapid 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.

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 'strong and rapid' flying dance with their arm gestures that represent their wings facing to the sun.

The teacher gauges the end of the half group performances.

Find an ending. I want all Nymph Butterflies to finish their dances with their wings held up to the sun.

What did you see when you watched this dance?

What did you think about this dance?

What did you wonder about this dance?

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.