Critical Learning

Guiding Questions

Students will dissect and interpret text to have a greater understanding of an artist and the process he/she goes through to arrive at the final stage of choreography. Through the creation of their dance piece, students will explore how dance can incite action and/or awareness.

How can dance advocate for environmental change?
Through reflection of the choreographic process, how can the group further their understanding of composition and why is it necessary to reflect on this?
How can the observation and critical analysis of the environmental pieces create change and action in someone?

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;

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

A4. Performance: apply dance presentation skills in a variety of contexts and performances.

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;


C2. Contexts and Influences: demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural, and historical origins and development of dance forms, including their influence on each other and on society;

C3. Responsible Practices: demonstrate an understanding of safe, ethical, and responsible personal and interpersonal practices in dance activities.

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 social issues
  • work collaboratively with a group
  • present site-specific works of dance
  • review and evaluate their own works.

Instructional Components


Students have been working towards the presentation of their Environmental Issue Creation Piece during Lesson 1-4. Students will have prior knowledge of the environment through various source materials and artifacts. 


Audience etiquette


Each student will require:

Appropriate clothing/costumes for the environment or studio
Pen/pencil and paper 


BLM #8 Christopher House Quote
BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer


Approximately 20 minutes

Minds On

Pause and Ponder

Whole Class > Quote

Read this quote aloud to students. Handout BLM #8 Christopher House Quote.

"I think any artist has an initial pool of imagery and emotional and intellectual impulse that you begin with when you start to create. And, at a certain point you've made that statement which is often an intuitive, spontaneous statement. But if you're going to continue to dig below the surface and to make a more powerful and maybe a more universal statement you need to work very hard at both sides of your art, unless you're very lucky and very unusual! One side is developing your art and your craft at expressing your ideas, and the other aspect is developing the stamina and the courage to follow through on what you believe is the truth of your vision." ~Christopher House

Individual > Response to Quote

Ask students to write/draw their response (using BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer) of the following questions:

Christopher House talks about two sides of the art- expression of ideas and following through with ones vision.  Do you feel your group worked at both of these sides in your piece?  Why or why not?
Do you feel that your piece makes a universal statement? How?
Assessment for Learning (AfL)

Responses in Minds On (diagnostic)

Assessment as Learning (AaL)


Assessment of Learning (AoL)

Presentation of environmental pieces and source/artifact creation.

Differentiation (DI)

Students can make a variety of choices that can appeal to their learning preferences and styles. (content of dance, location of performance etc.)

A graphic organizer for responses to questions in the Action section would help to aid the visual learners. 

(Refer to BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer)

Quick Tip

You need to be cognizant of the fact that this type of exploration is new for many students. Help to build students' self-confidence by instilling the perspective that they are sharing dance with the school and community by using Site Specific Dance. This broadens the meaning of dance for many and brings others to the realization that dance is not just danced in a studio or on the stage.

Link and Layer

Students could present their pieces on Earth Day or on International Dance Day (April 29) to advocate for the environment and dance, respectively.

Hyperlinks in the Lesson

Christopher House Quote

Approximately 140 minutes


Whole Class > Sharing Responses

Invite students to share their responses with the class. After the discussion, remind students as they are viewing the class pieces, to think about the two sides of art (expression through craft and truth of vision) that Christopher House discusses in the quote.

Whole Class > Sharing of Visual Component and Presentation of Pieces

Write down the order of the pieces on the board. Group the environmental issues so that there is continuity and flow between them. Remind students of proper audience etiquette. Ask students to share their visual component before the group performs so that the audience has some insight into what sources were used for movement inspiration and vocabulary. Instruct students to present their pieces (in silence, with text and/or with music).

Whole Class > Reflection

After each piece invite students to take notes about:
  1. The environmental issue that the piece addressed
  2. Where the group presented (Studio or Site Specific)
  3. How the group incorporated/represented their source material
  4. Used text, silence or music
  5. What the most powerful moment was
(Refer to BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer)

After presentations, instruct students to hand in BLM #9 Presentation Graphic Organizer.

Approximately 30 minutes


Whole Class > Discussion of Pieces

Using the questions in the action section, discuss the pieces and the impact they had on the class. 

Small Group > Reflection

Instruct students to get back with their small group and reflect upon the dance work.

Key Questions for Discussion:
How could these dance pieces be used to advocate for environment awareness?
What other observations did you make while you watched your peers' pieces? 
How did the integration of the sources/artifacts into the pieces impact on you? 
How do you think you are personally affected by the environmental issues addressed?
What touched you most about what you saw?
What changes will you personally begin to make in an effort to help the Earth?