Lesson 8: Dance at Grandpa's


Activity 1: Life in the Woods vs. Life Today

On the "Life in the Big Woods vs. Life Today" pagem your child can record one thing that she learned about how life in the woods was different than her own life today.

Activity 2: The Fiddle

Discuss why music is an important part of a culture. Tell your child that cultures around the world listen to different types of music. Different types of instruments are used to play different types of music. Discuss the feelings that Pa's fiddle brought out in the family. Ask your child to describe a time that Pa played his fiddle. He could play soft, slow songs that helped children fall asleep, or he could play fast songs that made people want to get up and dance!

Ask your child what the world would be like without music. Discuss that music can make us feel certain ways, such as nervous, excited, or depressed. For this activity, encourage your child to listen to different types of music. After listening to each song, ask her to record how the song made her feel. Once your child has listened to eight to ten songs, she can select her favorite and create a dance/movement routine that reflects how the song makes her feel.

If your child plays an instrument, you can extend this activity by asking her to play different pieces of music and then to describe the mood of each piece. You can also do this activity if you play an instrument, playing different songs and asking your child to describe the mood.

Activity 3: Square Dancing

Materials: square dance music
Ask your child if she has ever seen a person square dance. Explain that a square dance is done with a large number of people, and everyone has a partner. You can get the whole family involved in this activity. Today, you are going to teach your child some basic square dance moves. Play square dance music — you can get music from a digital music site or find music at the following web link.
Web Link
The square dance works best with four people making a square. The person across from you is your partner.
  • Circle left (Everyone holds hands in a circle and walks to the left.)
  • Circle right (Everyone holds hands in a circle and walks to the right.)
  • Forward and back (Every dancer steps forward three, pauses, and steps back three.)
  • Dosado (Partners step forward, pass shoulders on the right, and walk back to their spot passing shoulders on the left.)
  • Right Arm Turn (Join right arms, circle around once, go back to your spot.)
  • Left Arm Turn (Join left arms, circle around once, go back to your spot.)
  • Promenade (One partner walks beside the other partner and walks in around the circle clockwise.)
Web Link
Student Activity Page

Activity 4: Writing a Song or Song Graphing

Explain the following activities to your child and let her select the one that sounds most interesting.

Option 1: Writing a Song

Ask your child to write a song that reflects something about her family. Tell her that the song should have two verses and a chorus. If your child is not familiar with verses and choruses, sing or play examples for her.

Ask her to decide on the mood for her song. Will it be an upbeat, fast song or a mellow, slow song? Ask her which instruments would sound right for her song. After she writes her song, she can sing it for her family.

Option 2: Song Graphing

For this activity, your child will create a graph where she lists different genres of music — classical, country, pop, kids' tunes, oldies, jazz, etc. Discuss how the sounds of each type of music vary. Then play a variety of songs and ask your child to identify which genre each song would fit into. Encourage her to create the bar graph herself, labeling the graph and giving it a title. Discuss which type of graph should be used for this scenario.