Dance and digits do add up

May 21, 2010 at 11:11 am (General Information)

NBT has devised a unique way of helping primary school pupils engage with mathematics by marrying the subject with dance. Dancing by Numbers will see NBT work with youngsters aged nine to 11 in five primary schools in Leeds to teach the Curriculum through creative dance.

Dancing by Numbers is a cross-curricular dance and mathematics project that delivers strands of KS2 National Curriculum dance and mathematics. The project explores numbers, fractions and shapes through dance activities developing knowledge, understanding and skill in both subjects.

The originality of the project has won praise from TV presenter Rachel Riley, who replaced Carol Vorderman on ITV’s Countdown last year. She said: “Dancing by Numbers is a unique and innovative way of explaining abstract mathematical ideas in a highly visual and interactive style. I hope it will engage the children with maths and provide some good healthy fun at the same time.”

Kjartan Poskitt, TV present and author of the Murderous Maths series of books, has also given his backing to Dancing by Numbers and says: “It’s fantastic that such a prestigious company as Northern Ballet Theatre is bringing maths to young people! Music and dance are a really powerful way of getting ideas across to all ages and abilities, and the results are stunning!”

Dancing by Numbers will be delivered by NBT Education Officer, Sophie Alder, over three weeks from 7 June. NBT’s Learning team have seen the benefits of exploring traditional subjects in an innovative way and consequently have devised a series of similar projects for schools. These include Shaping Space which fuses science and dance, and Moving Words which develops literacy skills though movement.

Sophie says: “Projects such as these enable pupils to explore ideas they may find difficult to understand in the classroom. Working physically with ideas and concepts appeals to different learning styles and enables those who may struggle academically to engage with subjects in a different way. It also helps in developing communication and team skills, concentration and self esteem.

“Teaching through dance is a great way to engage pupils in topics that are key to their regular studies, to increase motivation and to interest and reinforce classroom-based work for children of all abilities.”

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