DANCE AND MOVEMENT AS MEANS TO PROMOTE PHYSICS LEARNING
Weizmann Institute of Science (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The potential of learning through movement is supported by several theories such as Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1993) and the theory of Embodiment: "To say that cognition is embodied means that it arises from bodily interactions with the world. From this point of view, cognition depends on the kinds of experiences that come from having a body with particular perceptual and motor capabilities that are inseparably linked and that together form the matrix within which reasoning, memory, emotion, language, and all other aspects of mental life are meshed" (Thelen, Schöner, Scheier, & Smith, 2001). Many studies in science education indicate that interactive learning based on active participation of the learner leads to more meaningful learning (Meltzer & Thornton, 2012). These studies further support the hypothesis about the importance of movement in learning. As a researcher, physics and dance teacher, I believe in the potential benefit of integrating movement into the learning of physics.
The aim of the research is to develop and investigate a new approach which combines embodied pedagogy with teaching and learning physics in high schools. This approach is based on body and movement experiences. The research tries to answer how physics can be taught through movement and how movement experiences promote the understanding of scientific concepts?
A 34-lesson course of "physics, dance and movement" was taught for 20 girls in 7th grade. The course exposed the learners to different types of dance and movements on the one hand and of various physical concepts on the other. In addition, 10 introductory workshops of teaching physics through movement were carried out with students, science teachers, 10th grade girls, dancers and researchers. Over 90% of the audience reported pleasure and excitement and about their belief that learning through movement and combining science with arts has high potential.
A 22-lesson course of "physics through movement" for 12 girls from 10th grade in dance class was taught last year. The course involved improvisation and movement exercises in order to expose the learners to basic concepts in mechanics, such as: center of mass, balance, stable/unstable balance (equilibrium), static/dynamic equilibrium, gravity, Normal force, friction, Newton's first and third laws. The course was filmed and recorded, pre and post questionnaires were administered and interviews were conducted.
Preliminary findings will be presented in the conference.
Keywords: Embodiment, embodied cognition.