Get with the Algo-rhythm
The ‘Computing through Dance’ project was developed by the Digital Schoolhouse and Langley Grammar School’s ICT Department to appeal to girls and incorporate computing in an innovative way into the curriculum. The project starts by creating flow charts of instructions to perform dance moves of a well know dance like; the Hokey Cokey, the rugby team (New Zealand And Tonga) Haka, Michael Jackson Moon Walk or a Tudor dance which many children study in Key Stage 2. The initial objective is to develop the understanding of a sequence and appreciate the importance of accurate instructions. Loops are then introduced for repeated instructions within the dance. A hilarious video clip of an animated character doing the Hokey Cokey is used but pupils should be encouraged to volunteer.
Next, the concept of selection is introduced with the introduction of a question; if the whistle blows, then freeze in a pose, else perform the dance. Once the concepts have been understood, students then have to create a dance with four dance moves; the dance must include at least one repeat and a pose for when the whistle blows. The dance sequence is written in a flow chart.
As space can be an issue in any classroom, students are given rules for the dance moves: they have to remain on their chairs and the dance moves are only with the upper body. The class can vote on a music style from some given samples. The students can record their dances using video cameras. Peer feedback is next; the videos are watched by the class while the students present their flow charts. A score is given on the clarity of instruction, accuracy of sequence, use of repeats, use of a question and overall quality of dance moves.
The ‘Computing through Dance’ project then evolves into using Scratch. Pupils choose a dance character or import images of themselves to perform a sequence of dance moves and by building on the students’ previous understanding in the kinaesthetic activity they are able to include repeats and a selection question. This project can be extended to add a variable to determine the number of times the dance sequences is repeated and later to introduce the concept of procedures for the more complex dance moves.