Susan Riley | August 2014

Force Field: Arts Integration Strategy

Our final installment of the Summer Strategy Toolbox centers around energy and force.

The force field arts integration strategy uses the concept of energy exploration and how the force of energy can create change and movement.  While this strategy has been developed specifically for movement, it can be used with many other arts areas with a bit of reimagining. For instance, creating different colors based upon desired energy levels, or changing musical tempo, dynamics or rhythms based upon the energy selected.

Basic Steps:

1. Have students spread out around the room and create an imaginary force field around themselves.  No one can penetrate anyone else’s force field.

2. Next, explore the elements of energy while listening to music.  Play a peaceful piece of music and call out “weight”.  Students will move around the classroom using their bodies to create weight that reflects the quality of music (light, airy, gentle).  Change the music at anytime to something starkly different (heavy, loud, pulsing rhythm, etc) and tell students to show the “weight” of this music. After each movement, have students assign a single word that would describe how they moved with weight and write it down on a piece of paper.

3. Then, repeat step 2, exploring the Flow of energy (continuous, fluid or restrained, controlled) and the Quality of energy (sharp, sudden, smooth, sustained, tense, loose, etc).

4. Gather the descriptive words that students wrote down to describe their energy movements and place them in a bag or hat.  Have students gather in a circle around the classroom and hold hands.  This is their new force field.

5. Choose one student to move to the center and enter the force field of their peers.  They will choose a piece of paper from the bag or hat and announce the word.

6. Students in the outside circle must work together while holding hands to show whatever word was chosen from the bag.  For example, if the student in the center chose the word “heavy”, the students holding hands must move together to create a heavy energy with their bodies to surround the person in the center.  The student in the center may explore the boundaries of the force field if they choose.

7. When the student in the center is satisfied with the energy performance they may shout “return!” and the force field can stop their energy level and return to their original stance.  The student in the center may select a new student to take their place.  The activity continues until all students have had a turn.

Force Field, Arts Integration Strategy, Education Closet


How would you use this strategy in your classroom?  What other ways could you see extending this strategy?  

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan