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Shape, number, pattern: exploring mathematical concepts through dance (Level 2)

by Catherine Kelly, Dance Facilitator, Auckland College of Education

Rationale | Curriculum links |  Teaching and learning sequence

Class: Level 2 (Year 3–4)Duration: 10 lessons of 30–40 minutes


Dance can significantly enhance, deepen and increase learning in all of the essential learning areas, and especially mathematics! This unit extends the students' mathematical investigations through the kinaesthetic activities in dance.

Crossover between maths and dance

Dance is geometry – shape-making, symmetry, asymmetry, reflections, rotations, transformations and directions. Dance uses algebra patterning, group formations, tessellations, repetition, sequences and variations. Dance uses numeracy and the counting of beats, accents, syncopated time patterns, and other rhythm and time structures. Dance uses mapping, the clock, compass, and other shapes and spatial formations. Dancers and choreographers need to calculate and measure spatial dimensions and the proportions of floor and air space when choreographing and staging a production.Dance explores and creates patterns, pathways and group formations on the floor and in the air. Dance uses and investigates relationships in time and space with other dancers, with objects (chairs, cushions) and props (elastics, ti rakau, poi), and with the shapes and patterns of the natural environment.

Resources and equipment

  • Hall space
  • CD player, drum
  • CDs: use a variety of music, such as NZ Music for Creative Dance 1 & 2, Cirque du Soleil, Deep Forest, and music by Debussy, Bach, and other suitable composers
  • Dance word cards and direction word cards
  • Maths 2-D blocks, shapes, mirrors


To access the following sections of this unit, click on the following links:

Printing this unit

To download and print this unit in chart format, select from the following Microsoft Word and PDF options:

MathsDanceL2 (Word 69 KB)

– (Word, 66kb)

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