Animals with Lynne

Join Lynne as she explores the way animals move in this creative movement lesson.

Science Standard
LS1.D Standard 2.2.4: Design a solution to a human problem by mimicking the structure and function of plants and/or animals and how they use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs. Define the problem by asking questions and gathering information, convey designs through sketches, drawings, or physical models, and compare and test designs.
LS1.D Standard 4.1.2: Develop and use a model of a system to describe how animals receive different types of information from their environment through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information.

Warm Up:

Guide the students through a warm-up that involves ways an animal may move: crawling in different ways, running, jumping, gliding, flying, swimming, pouncing, climbing, etc. Involve levels and directions and speeds.


In this lesson, we are going to focus on taking ideas from the way animals move or characteristics about them and then creating movement from these ideas, not necessarily “acting” like animals. So to begin, start with the idea of charades. Have the students “act out” an animal, for example a cheetah, when you call out its name, they are trying to get you to guess what animal they are representing with their movements. Then, sit them down and have them name all the things they can tell you about a cheetah. Begin making a list. They are fast, silent, soft, dangerous, run, pounce, hunt, etc. Next, tell them we are going to move with these words, but we are NOT going to act like cheetahs anymore, we are going to in that habitat and move like people, but with these words to guide our imaginations and creativity. Then have them move fast, in a silent way, in a soft way, etc all down the list.


A couple ideas… have them do this themselves in smaller groups. Select an animal. Show us this animal as a charade, then brainstorm as a group and pick 3 things about the animal that you know, how does it move, where does it live, what does it feel like? Then take those things and create a movement pattern. Show to the other groups.

Next Step:

Using body shape, have the student create habitats for the animals. Create a desert habitat, forest, mountain, ocean, etc. The other students can move through the habitat. Options to create “obstacles” that might change the environment and therefore change the animals behavior or ability to live in that habitat.

Lynne Larson received a BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University and a MFA in Dance from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She danced professionally with Martita Goshen’s Earthworks, Repertory Dance Theatre, SBDance and Koester & Dancers. In 2007, she was named Education Director for Repertory Dance Theatre, and in 2014, Artistic Associate as well. She coordinates all arts-in-education activities for RDT, directs RDT’s annual Summerdance and Winterdance Workshops, High School and Young Dancer Summer Workshops, rehearsal directs numerous pieces in the RDT repertory and assists in artistic long range planning for the company. Lynne is an accomplished teacher of students K-professional in creative movement and modern dance. She has been a presenter for the last four years at Utah State Board of Education’s Secondary and Elementary Annual Physical Education Conferences. Lynne is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in the School of Dance for the Teaching Methods/Pedagogy Elementary Education Classes. In 2019, she was named Dance Educator of the Year by UDEO for the Professional/Private Sector.

RDT appreciates the generous funding provided by the Utah Legislature and the Utah Board of Education that help make our Arts-in-Education Programs possible in Utah’s Public Schools.

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