DANCING OUR MICROBIOME AT THE SCIENCE MUSEUM: A DANCE/STEAM COLLABORATION
Alexia Buono & Anne Burnidge
Journal of Dance Education (2020)
This article describes dance/STEAM-based educational workshops for 3rd and 4th graders at a local science museum led by the artistic director and members of a professional dance company and supported by a large university research community. The overarching pedagogical goal was to use dance to learn about science and science to learn about dance. The workshops were part of a large multimedia dance project inspired by human microbiome research. Mirroring the dance company’s process, students explored various methods of embodied investigation. Using their whole bodies, they manipulated props to physicalize scientific concepts such as homeostasis and symbiosis. Microbes, viewed on video, led to students creating microbe-inspired movement phrases. Community skill building, discussion, and concepts from science and Laban Movement Analysis were woven throughout. Culminating “microbe performances” for teachers and facilitators allowed students to assimilate and celebrate their new holistic knowledge and to make meaning by integrating dance and science.