Sixth Grade Social Science Lesson Plan
Integrated Dance Standards
Dance Focus/ Gesture-Locomotor and Axial Movements
Social Science Focus/ Ancient Kingdom of Kush
Objective: Students will explore movements that reflect the attributes of the culture of the
Ancient Kingdom of Kush.
Drums and other rhythm instruments (optional)
Music (optional: Planet Drum)
Pictures in text of arrows, bows, shields
Dance of Nubia verse on a chart
Vocabulary: Africa, Sudan, Nubia, balance, gesture, locomotor, axial, improvisational
Kush (also called Nubia), is located on the Nile River, south of Egypt. The Nubians were known
as the people of the bow because their kingdom was protected by fierce and skilled archers.
Nubia had much wealth: gold, ivory, incense, and iron ore. The people lived in farming villages
which were organized by cooperative division of labor. Villagers gathered in a central part of the
village after work was completed. Kush (Nubia) became the iron center of ancient Africa until
they deforested the area in their search for fuel to forge iron. They then turned to developing a
trade route through the Sahara Desert. With the introduction of the camel, it was possible to get
from Kush to West Africa. The Kush at first worshipped the same gods as the Egyptians and
Timeline: Two hours
1. The teacher asks students to review the illustrations and text about the Kush civilization
in their social science book. Students describe the Kush and note the similarities and
differences between their society and neighboring Egypt. Marzano Strategy:
Similarities and Differences (Example) Students and teacher continue to find
similarities and differences.
Egypt Kush (Nubia)
Pyramids Pyramids Buildings
Linen body wraps Body wraps/leopard and Clothing
Gods Egyptian gods first then Lion Religion
headed god: Apedemek
Split pieces of palm or bricks Homes
2. The students note that the people of Kush were effective warriors, warring back and
forth with Egypt for power in the region. They note that the women of Kush were also
warriors fighting for their sovereignty from Egypt. SS Standard 6.2: Students analyze
the geographical, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early
civilization of Kush.
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3. The teacher reviews the dance elements of dance from previous lessons. The students
find a space of their own, perform warm-up exercises, and demonstrate their knowledge
of levels, force, energy, focus, attraction, repulsion, balance, and isolation on the
teacher’s command. The teacher talks about gesture, using the face and body to express
what a person is thinking and feeling and models facial and body gesture. The students
practice facial and body gesture.
4. The teacher assigns students to one of two groups- The Egyptians, or the Kush (Nubians).
Referring to the history of the two groups, the teacher reminds students that once the
Egyptians conquered and ruled the Kush for a while, and then later the Kush
overpowered and ruled the Egyptians. This power struggle was based on the control of
valuable resources found in the area. Kush had gold, copper, stone, ebony and ivory.
Kush was protected early on by the cataracts of the Nile that kept the Egyptians out. The
Egyptian Pharaoh conquered Kush and Kush became a part of Egypt. Then Kush
regained strength and attacked and conquered Egypt. Students in the two opposing
groups line up opposite each other facing an opponent. Each warrior is carrying an
imaginary bow and arrow or weapons as featured in the illustrations on page 124 of their
social studies text. The line representing the Egyptians advances first with a forceful
movement of lurch forward, while the opposite Kush (Nubians) lurch backwards,
showing repulsion of movement. This repeats in the opposite direction. Each line takes
turn using attraction and repulsion by raising and lowering their imaginary bow and
5. The two lines line up across opposite walls. Each group creates movement across the
floor that shows agility (ease of movement) and ends in a balanced pose. Then they
retreat backwards toward their wall. The other group repeats.
6. The teacher introduces sound by pounding on a drum. At the sound of the drum the two
sides turn their heads to the upper right corner of the room scanning for the enemy.
Another drumming is heard and both groups turn their heads to the upper left corner of
the room. Students repeat this two more times.
7. The teacher instructs students that at the fifth pounding of the drum and all the warriors
look in the same direction (towards an audience) and fold their arms in front as if
carrying a shield to defend them selves. The two groups hold this posture as they form a
closed circle for their group to protect each other’s backs.
8. The two-circled groups rotate in their circle with much energy to maintain the circle
while engaged in an imaginary battle.
9. The warriors in each group move slowly backwards with arms in the air protecting
themselves as they check under bushes, behind imaginary trees, etc.
10. The warriors slowly and carefully put their imaginary weapons down and create a straight
line, which then backs up in retreat silently and quickly, never taking their eyes from the
imaginary audience. Dance Standard 1.3: Identify and use force/energy variations
when executing gesture, locomotor, and axial movements.
11. The teacher asks students to read the verse “Dance of Nubia” and to explain each line.
Dance of Nubia
In Nubia, our paradise,
The girls must go to the river to fetch water.
I can see you going with your sister in the mountains.
I can imagine how you will be talking very seriously to one another.
Nubia, our beautiful Nubia is the land I love and will always remember. (worldartswest.org)
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Marzano Strategy: Classification
Dance of Nubia (title) line meaning
In, Nubia, our paradise Whoever is telling this lives in Nubia and
thinks it is a perfect land: beautiful and
The girls must go to the river to fetch water. This must be in olden times because they don’t
have faucets and running water. The girls’ job
is to get water, not the boys. The girls have to
carry heavy containers of water from the river
to home. The river must not be too far away.
I can see you going with your sister in the Maybe this is a boy telling this since in the line
mountains. above girls are mentioned, and here he sees
someone (a girl?) going into the mountains
with a sister.
I can imagine how you will be talking very Perhaps a boy really likes the girl and thinks
seriously to one another. about her a lot, and imagines what she does,
even when she is with her sister.
Nubia, our beautiful Nubia...... The land and people are very precious to this
12. The teacher explains that dance is sometimes improvisational (made up to match
situations) in nature, and the dancer draws from a variety of characteristic movements
with which to interpret the music and show mastery of the rhythm. The teacher asks
students to improvise movements to fit the poem line by line.
13. The teacher reads the following (on page 127 Ancient Civilizations) aloud and asks
students to take notes on the movements they can use to improvise a dance: “You live in
Meroe, the capital of Kush, in 250 B.C. Your father is a skilled ironworker (teacher
sidecoaches-what movements would an iron worker make?). From him you’ve learned to
shape iron tools and weapons (teacher sidecoaches- what movements are made to shape
tools and iron weapons?). Everyone expects that you will carry on his work. If you do
become an ironworker, you will likely make a good living (teacher sidecoaches- what
movements signify making a good living?). But you are restless. You’d like to travel
down the Nile to see Egypt and the great sea beyond it (students improvise movements).
Now a neighbor who is a trader asked you to join his next trading voyage. Will you leave
Meroe to travel? Why or why not?” Students are in cooperative groups to create the
ending to this dance- will they be a trader or an ironworker?
14. Groups of students show their iron working/trader dance.
15. The teacher asks students to describe the three dances: The Warrior Dance, the Iron
making dance, and the Nubia dance and to tell how peoples created dances for their
everyday lives. Dance Standard 3.3: Explain the various ways people have
experienced dance in their daily lives. 1.5: Describe and analyze movements
observed and performed, using appropriate dance vocabulary. Students compare and
contrast the two dances exploring the purposes and the movements.
Warrior What Movements Nubia What Movements Iron What Movements
Dance purpose? Dance purpose? making purpose?
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Are students able to identify and use force/energy variations when executing gesture, locomotor,
and axial movements? Are students able to explain the various ways the Kush people may have
experienced dance in their daily lives? Are students able to describe and analyze movements
observed and performed, using appropriate dance vocabulary?
Part Two Dance Focus: Dance Origins
Objective: Students explore the African roots of current dances by learning Hip Hop.
Vocabulary: rhythm, beat, origins, isolations, torso, polyrhythms
African Music (Planet Drum or other selections)
Appropriate Hip Hop music
1. The teacher lets students know that they will be learning a Hip Hop style dance and will
learn that the dance has its origins from Africa. African dance has a strong rhythmical
base which remains in Hip Hop. The teacher asks students to describe the moves they’ve
seen in Hip Hop dances.
2. The teacher gives students a short summary of the attributes of African dance: low level
movements; full use of the torso (rib cage area); and use of polyrhythms (multiple layers
3. The teacher asks students to find their own space for warm-ups. The warm-up begins
with isolations starting with the head and working down:
Head look right, look left, look up, look down
Chin Stick out chin, pull in chin
Shoulder alternate up/down, roll back/forward
Rib cage right/left, circle
Knees flex and extend
Ankles flex, point, and roll
4. The teacher tells students the next thing is to perform a side slide: Push off left leg and
slide onto the right, bring your left leg into the right leg; push off your right leg to your
left, slide right leg into the left. This is slide step together, slide step together. Perform
this at a low level and add dynamics to fit the rhythm.
5. The teacher introduces the shoulder bounce. Students relax their shoulders and raise them
up and down and then add stepping side to side with knees bent while responding to
different tempos and dynamics.
6. The teacher shows students a shoulder/rib isolation and students then practice. Students
perform rib and shoulder isolations while changing levels, beginning at a high level and
working down to a lower level.
7. The teacher tells students that now they will put everything together following these
Four side slides to the right- slide right 1 step together 2, slide left, step together
4, slide right 5, step together 6, slide left 7, step together 8. Students practice this
until they can perform the sequence.
Four shoulder bounces-Step right foot forward, shoulder bounce 1 and bring the
right leg together still bouncing 2. Step left leg forward, bounce 3 and bring left
leg together still bouncing 4, repeat on the right 5 and 6, repeat left 7 and 8.
Students practice until they are able to perform the sequence.
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Eight shoulder/rib isolations starting to the right. Right 1, left 2, right 3, left 4,
right 5, left 6, right 7, left 8. Students practice until they are able to perform the
Combine all the sequences into three 8 counts. Students practice until they can
perform the three 8 counts. Then music (African or appropriate Hip Hop) is
played and students practice with the music. Students perform the Hip Hop to the
rhythm of the music.
Students perform the dance sequence to African music and then Hip Hop and note
the similarities and differences.
8. The teacher asks students to compare and describe the difference of creating a dance
(the Nubia and Ironworking dance) with learning and following steps to a dance (Warrior
and Hip Hop dance). Dance Standard 2.2: Compare and demonstrate the difference
between imitating (learning steps) movement and creating original dances.
Are students able to compare and demonstrate the difference between imitating (learning
steps) movement and creating original dances?
Novice Practitioner Apprentice Expert Standard
Students are not able Students are able to Students are able to Students are able to 1.3: Identify and use
to identify and use identify one or two frequently identify consistently identify force/energy
force/energy force/energy and use force/energy and use force/energy variations when
variations. variations in variations in variations in a wide executing gesture,
movements. movements. variety of locomotor, and axial
Students do not Students explain one Students explain two Students explain 3.3: Explain the
explain ways people way the Kush people ways that the Kush three ways the Kush various ways people
experience dance. may have people may have people may have have experienced
experienced dance in experienced dance in experienced dance in dance in their daily
their lives. their lives. their lives. lives.
Students do not use Students are able use Students describe Students are able to 1.5: Describe and
dance vocabulary or dance vocabulary to movements that the describe and analyze analyze movements
analyze dance describe their own see perform and can movements that they observed and
movements. movements. use dance see in performances performed, using
vocabulary to and that they appropriate dance
describe their own perform using dance vocabulary.
Students do not Students describe Students are able to Students are able to 2.2: Compare and
compare imitative how they create tell the difference compare and demonstrate the
and creative dances. movements. between learning demonstrate the difference between
dance steps and difference between imitating (learning
creating a dance. learning steps to a steps) movement and
dance and creating a creating original
http://www.ancient-future.com/africa.html exercises in polyrhythm.
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