Math Mondays::Math Dance!

The one thing most people have a hard time with, when I tell them we don’t use any curriculum or schoolbooks, is the math issue. How, they wonder, can anyone ever learn difficult math concepts without workbooks?

We learn math in lots of organic, living forms, but one way I’m dying to try out is Mathdance, which teaches math through performing arts and whole body movement.

I’m thinking it’ll be perfect when Creative Math Club starts back up in a bit.

The brains behind it are two choreographers.

“We translate pattern into choreography and we translate pattern into math,” Erik Stern, an educator and choreographer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., told Ivanhoe.
Erik Stern and Karl Schaffer are the creators of a “math dance. “Many math-phobic adults and children — young people — are put off by math because they are given symbols before they have a real solid experience on which to base it on,” Stern explains.
“Well, for many people, having a kinesthetic experience of an abstract idea is extremely helpful in understanding what that abstract is,” Karl Schaffer, Ph.D., an educator, choreographer and mathematician at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, told Ivanhoe.

Concepts such as patterning, sequencing, movement and symmetry are gradually built upon, so that while having fun and becoming coordinated, students are memorising their shapes and patterns. They learn by making, being and doing.

Their website, mathdance.org, has a handful of introductory lessons taken from their book…definately go check it out!

some articles:
Science Daily article
article at Suite 101

Different mathdances on youtube:

representing different graphs to “Eye of the Tiger” (the first minute of this is priceless, lol)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn64um0-ts8&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0]

Quadratic Formula Dance:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uSyUkAfcXo&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0]

5 Comments

  1. ella /

    Thanks for the info. This looks promising. I get the same quizzical looks. I tell people that all they have to do is look around them as math is everywhere. Most people still don’t grasp the concept, sigh…

  2. allyall /

    I think what I enjoy about your posts are that they address two issues – learning the "required maths" in a fun and interactive way that better addresses multiple intelligences and opening the mind to all the different facets of life that already contain mathematics though people don't realize it.

    Art and dancing is all mathematical to begin with. It is rhythms, patterns and such. Slightly related, there was a fascinating study done at BYU by some professors on teaching calculus to dance majors using motion and such.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hmmm, I must be a bit too left-brained to get the dance / maths correlation lol! Love the videos though :)

  4. I’m with Kez. They were fun to watch, but I didn’t get it.

  5. childsplay /

    yeah, I'm with both of you–I think there is some instruction we're missing out on to explain it all.

    the Mathdance website has very precise, informative exercises to try, with very clear reason behind it, lol.