Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will have the opportunity to interpret text about the theme of environmental concern-specifically global warming and continue to refine their solos in a small group ensemble and, in addition, create movements to represent environmental concerns.

How can we use our knowledge of Dance to address social issues?

Curriculum Expectations

Learning Goals

Creating, Presenting and Performing

A1. The Creative Process:use the creative process, the elements of dance (body, space, time, energy, and relationship), and a variety of sources to develop movement vocabulary;

A1.1 use the elements of dance to create and perform a variety of movement phrases inspired by sources

A1.2 create and perform phrases that manipulate three or more elements of dance

A2. Choreography and Composition:combine the elements of dance in a variety of ways in composing individual and ensemble dance creations;

A2.1 use a variety of choreographic forms, structures, and techniques to connect a series of movement phrases

A2.2 construct a dance composition inspired by a source

Reflecting, Responding, and Analysing

B1. Critical Analysis Process: use the critical analysis process to reflect on and evaluate their own and others’ dance works and activities;

B1.2 analyse dance works in terms of both their content and their fluency, artistry, or expressiveness

Learning Goals
(Unpacked Expectations)

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand how dance can be used as a catalyst for a variety of environmental issues and how dance can advocate for change.
  • create, rehearse and perform a dance phrase
  • work on creating a choreographic phrase with their peers
  • give peer feedback


Instructional Components


Students should have experience working in small groups to create choreography and should know the elements of dance.


Movement Phrase
Elements of Dance


Computer Lab/Library
Variety of music (World Music)
CD player/bluetooth speakers


BLM #2 Checklist
BLM #3 Peer-Assessment


 Approximately 30 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Quote

Post these quotes around the room:
"I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel everyday. I want you to act. I want you to act like you would in a crisis. I want you to act like your house is on fire, because it is." Greta Thunberg

"I've said it once and I'll say it again. We can't eat money or drink oil." Autumn Peltier

"We had no power in creating the systems that are destroying our world and futures — and yet we are and will be paying the biggest price for the older generations’ recklessness." Jamie Sarai Margolin

Ask the class to walk around the room, read the posted quotes and stand next to the quote that most resonates with them. Ask them for their initial reactions. Prompt: What does the quote mean? How do you feel when you hear this quote? What do you know about the person who said the quote? Have them discuss with the people who selected the same quote as them. After, ask students to consider the following question: "What is climate change?" Discuss as a class.

Small Group > Mind Map

Divide students into groups based on the quotes they selected. Depending on how many students selected each quote, you may need to break the group up into smaller groups. In small groups, have students brainstorm ideas on this topic using a Mind Map. Allow students 10 minutes. Afterwards, have each group share the key words that they generated. 

Small Group > 5 Movements

In the same small groups, instruct students to respond to their chosen quote above by each creating a movement. Students then sequences the movements together with transitions that reflect the meaning and essence of the quote.

Assessment for Learning (AfL) 

Teachers will have the opportunity to witness who has an understanding of source inspired movement through the use of BLM #2 Checklist.  Observe the 5 movements that are created through the use of the quote and check to see that students are conveying the meaning of the quote using the elements of dance and compositional tools and structures.
Students will complete a journal entry using the guiding questions from the Consolidation section.

Assessment as Learning (AaL)

A peer-assessment will be used for Lesson 2.  Ask students to assess their group's movement piece based on the solos and quote.  Refer to BLM #3 Peer-Assessment.

Differentiation (DI)

Group numbers/sizes can be altered to best fit class and students individual needs. 

You could provide a handout of the criteria for the composition.

Quick Tip

Consider how to divide students into groups. As this is still early in the creative process students may feel more comfortable choosing their own group members.

Link and Layer

You may wish to extend this lesson by using information about climate justice. Connections may also be made between climate change and Indigenous sovereignty.  (See hyperlinks)

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

The site below has information on current climate change initiatives that you may wish to read prior to the lesson or they may wish for students to read the link to further understand the topic of global warming.

Zero Hour (Jamie Margolin)

Interview with Autumn Peltier

TED Talk Greta Thunberg

NASA Climate Resources for Teachers

Common Sense Resources for Teachers

Indigenous Climate Action

Approximately 40 minutes


Whole Class > Instruction for Movement Phrase

In the same small groups, ask students to consolidate the arrangement of their solos (from Lesson 1) which represented an artifact of nature and in essence, nature's beauty. Invite students to use the movement phrase that was inspired from the quote in Minds On (Lesson 2) and to link the two phrases as a way of enhancing the contrast and emphasizing the impact of factors that harm the environment. For example, students may want to start with their solos and then transition into the 5 movements or vice-versa. Discuss with students, that the overall message of the dance might be perceived by the audience differently if the group begins with the movements based on the quote and then transitions to the movement based on beauty and hope. They will need to make their own choice as group here.

Small Groups > Movement Phrase


Allow students time to experiment with how best to link the phrases in order to convey the message about environmental issues/concerns. Students may wish to incorporate the text of the quote into the phrases.


Invite students share their movement piece with the class. Refer to BLM #2 Checklist 

Whole Class > Critical Analysis

Invite the class to give feedback to each group using the following questions:
What choices did the group make with respect to sequencing and structure?
How is the piece clearly conveying the theme? 
How are the elements of dance being used effectively?
Which compositional tools or structures did the group use to help convey the theme?
Approximately 30 minutes


Individual > Journal Response

Invite students to respond in writing to the following questions:
How has creating and viewing the dance pieces changed the way you think about the environment and your interaction with it?  
What changes, if any, would you consider making in your life to improve the environment? (Encourage students to view the second hyperlink in the lesson-write it on the board.)
How can dance help to advocate for change? 
What about our environment concerns you the most?

Individual > Self/Peer-Assessment

Instruct students to complete BLM #3 Peer-Assessment.