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Fine Arts - Dance Curriculum
Dance - 3rd Grade
Course Preface Course Preface
Printable Version Printable Version (pdf)


Core Standards of the Course


Standard 1
The student will identify and safely demonstrate knowledge of the body and movement skills in performing dance.

Objective 1
Participate safely and regularly in warm-up activities followed by strengthening, endurance, and flexibility exercises.

  1. Recognize and avoid possible room or outdoor hazards.
    Strategy Example:
    Discuss the hazards of dancing in cold rooms, slippery floors, concrete or tile floors. Practice safety measures; e.g., wear a sweatshirt, wear tennis shoes on concrete. Stay away from obstacles.
  2. Participate in dance with an awareness of appropriate safety concerns; e.g., warming up before stretching, never bouncing on a stretched muscle, drinking water, knees over toes.
  3. Understand, define, and demonstrate personal space in stationary warm-up activities. Understand group space by filling the space evenly in locomotor activities.
  4. Show an increase in strength, endurance, and flexibility.
    Strategy Example:
    To increase strength, lie on back, bend knees with hands behind head and elbows to side, lift head and shoulders toward ceiling while breathing out. To increase endurance, increase repetitions over time. To increase flexibility, in "tailor" sitting position, round back by putting head close to the floor and hold for 16 slow counts.
  5. Show an increase in coordination, agility, alignment, and balance.
    Strategy Example:
    With feet in parallel placement, body straight, and knees over toes, bend knees on count 1, straighten legs on count 2, rise on count 3, and balance for 4, 5, and 6, lower heels and bend knees on 7, straighten legs on 8. Repeat.
  6. Show an increase in balance and strength.
    Strategy Example:
    Stand on one leg, hold other leg, then stretch the leg forward.

Objective 2
Identify and execute axial and locomotor steps.

  1. Demonstrate axial movements of bending, twisting, reaching, and turning.
  2. Demonstrate basic locomotor steps with unusual variations of walk, run, hop, jump, leap, skip, slide, and gallop.
    Strategy Example:
    Skip with straight legs in back, feet stretched, and arms stretched to the side.
  3. Demonstrate increased control in the locomotor steps; e.g., start and stop, vary the tempo, lead with the left as well as the right foot.


Standard 2
The student will identify and demonstrate the movement elements in performing dance.

Objective 1
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences in time.

  1. Clap and then move in 6/8 time, accenting the first beat of every measure. Change the body part, direction, level, or energy with each new accent/measure.
  2. Explore the timing and dynamics of nonmetric rhythms through movement.
    Strategy Example:
    Discuss words that describe the tempo, duration, and dynamics found in nature, the body, in animals, and mechanical and nonmechanical objects; e.g., ball, eggbeater.
  3. Move in metric time to the value of whole, half, quarter, and eighth notes.
    Strategy Example:
    Stretch for whole note, move in upward direction for half note, downward for two, move one body part on each quarter note, and run for eighth notes.
  4. After seeing a dance, recognize and describe the use of time.
    Strategy Example:
    Identify a movement phrase that used nonmetric or metric time.

Objective 2
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences in space.

  1. Create a series of shapes on different levels and design moving transitions between them.
    Strategy Example:
    Move in slow motion from a shape at a low level to a shape at a high level, then suddenly move to a shape on a medium level.
  2. Create simple locomotor combinations of moving forward, backward, sideways, and circling.
  3. Create with a partner a repeatable locomotor pattern moving through space with meeting, parting, passing, and circling.
  4. After seeing a dance, discuss the element of space; e.g., recognize the locomotor steps the dancers used.

Objective 3
Expand dance vocabulary with movement experiences using the basic qualities of energy and motion.

  1. Order a sequence of improvised movements that demonstrate changes in quality of motion; e.g., choose descriptive words such as perch, jab, melt, slither.
  2. After seeing a dance, describe the element of energy.
    Strategy Example:
    Identify the kinds of motion qualities the dancers used; e.g., percussive, sustained, vibratory, swing, suspend, collapse, and explode. Explain how these contrasts make the dance more interesting.


Standard 3
The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.

Objective 1
Explore the process of making a dance.

  1. Experiment with a movement sequence based on a nonmetric image; e.g., sneeze or a tickle.
  2. Experiment with a movement sequence or phrase by combining directional changes of locomotor steps that use quarter notes and eighth notes; e.g., walk, hop, run, and jump.
  3. Make symmetrical or asymmetrical shapes that sustain themselves for the length of whole and half notes. Make these shapes on different levels and/or facing different directions.

Objective 2
Create and discuss movement solutions derived from movement exploration.

  1. Create and practice a pattern of movement with a clear beginning and a clear ending.
    Strategy Example:
    Discuss how movement exploration can become set into a pattern with a beginning and an ending; e.g., compose a phrase on a nonmetric image based on the above exploration and add a beginning symmetrical shape and an ending asymmetrical shape.
  2. Observe and discuss movement solutions of other classmates/ dancers.
  3. Evaluate success in using personal space, landing quietly on feet, following directions, remembering sequences, and using unique and/or creative movements.
  4. Explain how to progress from exploring to making choices to creating choreography.
  5. Demonstrate by moving, drawing, or writing an awareness of how dance can communicate an idea, feeling, or purpose.


Standard 4
The student will understand and demonstrate dance in relation to its historical and cultural origins.

Objective 1
Perform and understand dances and singing games from different time periods and cultures.

  1. Learn and perform simple traditional folk dances or singing games.
    Strategy Example:
    Use people in the community as a resource to share their knowledge of folk dances suitable for the age group.
  2. Observe a live performance or video of ritual and/or folk dance; e.g., Hispanic, Pacific Islanders, Native American, Asian, and African American. Describe the differences in these dance forms, why they are created, and the role they play today.
  3. Create an original folk dance based on ideas or events within the community; e.g., ideas from local celebrations, current issues, or traffic patterns.
  4. Create an original ritual or ceremonial dance based on planting, harvesting, or the cycles of seasons.

Objective 2
Recognize and use the language of dance in world culture.

  1. Study the dance and art of another culture and discuss why these dances were created and why they are still important today.
  2. Identify the various cultures represented in the community. Discuss the dances, crafts, music, and art that makes each culture unique.

Objective 3
Make connections between dance and other disciplines.

  1. Create a movement project from an idea from one of the arts.
    Strategy Example:
    Explore ideas from painting such as shape, line, design, color, texture.
  2. Create a movement project from an idea from literature or poetry.
    Strategy Example:
    Using aspects of space, time, and energy, explore movement ideas from a children's book. Explore the action words that come from the book; e.g., over, under, in and out, through, rolling, gnashing, wild rumpus.
  3. Create a movement project from an idea from the sciences.
    Strategy Example:
    Explore movement ideas of simple machines. One body part cannot move until another part connects by pushing, pulling, or turning. Do singly, in pairs, in threes, and in fours.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Cathy Jensen and see the Fine Arts - Dance website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - DIANA SUDDRETH .  
These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.
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