Skip navigation

Kaitlyn Hardiman

Kaitlyn Hardiman

Diggin’ Up the Roots

Discipline: Dance

Grade Levels: 6-8

Number of sequential sessions in lesson plan: 6

Curriculum Summary

Tap dance was established in the early 19th century when slave owners took away enslaved individual’s percussive instruments. In turn, African Americans replaced the instrumental notes with movements on their own body as a way to retain their cultural identity. Many dancers today are familiar with tap dance, but are unaware that tap is a mergence of two cultural and ethnic styles: Irish and African dance

In this 6-unit lesson, students will dig into the history of this style by learning more about:
1) How tap dance was born during the American enslavement of Africans. Tap dance was notably driven by Master Juba, who was known for blending African and European dance styles.
2) African dance history and movements. This art form was performed in both sacred and secular contexts in this culture.
3) Irish dance history and movements. During slavery, many Irish were also indentured servants, so Irish and African dance often blended in locations such as American plantations.
4) Tap dance in contemporary society and popular movements
5) Have an opportunity to identify the African and Irish movement qualities in today’s tap style

Materials Needed

- Floor space on the 3/6 days that involve movement.
- Speakers for music
- If students are using their computers, they will need to have internet access and teachers will need to upload content in Canvas
- If not, teacher will need to use print out worksheets for students to use for exit ticket
- Pencils if students are using worksheet
- Screen to show PowerPoint
- Tap shoes, or dancers can wear tennis shoes, for the tap class

In addition to curricular requirements, these lesson plans will also come with-
- Suggested playlist for the three movement-based classes (Irish, African, Tap)
- Suggested PowerPoints for history portions
- Ending exit tickets for students for each class

Oklahoma Academic Standards Addressed

D.CN.2: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical contexts to deepen understanding.

6.D.CN.2.1 Interpret and demonstrate how the movement and qualities of a dance communicate its cultural, historical, and/or community purpose or meaning, including those of Oklahoma Native American tribes and communities.

7.D.CN.2.1 Compare, contrast, and discuss dances performed by people in various localities or communities, including the contributions of Oklahoma Native American tribes and communities.Formulate possible reasons why similarities and differences developed in relation to the ideas and perspectives important to each social group.

8.D.CN.2.1 Analyze and discuss how dances from a variety of cultures, societies, historical periods, or communities reveal the ideas and perspectives of the people, including those of Oklahoma Native American tribes.


Curriculum Sessions