What's the difference between Dance & Whole Body Movement in Learning?

It's clear from research and practice that employing the whole body in math class supports learning, but is every whole-body activity dance? What would the differences be? In this lovely little conversation, John Golden and I hash out some of the differences.

  1. Before you go further, make sure to go to the link John references and take a quick look at both student proofs.
  2. WBL = Whole Body Learning
  3. Here's the main point:
  4. A number line dance would look a lot like a number line. Dance is a chance to take the conceptual meaning of a mathematical idea (not the visual representations) into a new expressive mode because...
  5. So, here's an idea to mull over: If WBL is representational and Dance is its own, often abstract, meaning making system, why not use both in the same lesson? Example:

    Start an investigation into integers that includes the whole body and a body-scale number line. Learn the math both in body scale and back down on the page. Then, take your new understanding of integers and work within a dance system to explore those ideas.

    It would be hard for the body to represent negative numbers but the real ideas behind integers might be something like: Orienting to 0 as starting point and moving away or toward that point in specific intervals. Also, more abstractly (and less representational of the number line itself) inverse operations meaning, doing an undoing an action/movement phrase, or making a movement or phrase larger or smaller in specific intervals.
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