Rock Dance: One Standard, Four Seeds

2 Min Read  •  STEAM

Today, not only do we have a free lesson seed for you, but we’re talking about expanding that lesson seed across all four fine arts contents! One content standard, four seeds!

One of my favorite arts integrated lesson plans is the “Rock Dance” lesson. Students collaboratively create choreographic works to demonstrate their understanding of how each of the three types of rocks (sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous) is formed. It’s been one of my favorite go-to arts integrated plans for years.  However, when I found this great “Crayon Rock” lesson, I thought about ways we can expand to integrate this one NGSS standard across the four arts contents.

 The Content Standard

NGSS.4-ESS1-1: Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.

The Rock Dance

DA:Cr.2.4.a: Manipulate or modify use of the elements of design to expand movement possibilities and create a variety of movement patterns, forms, and structures. Discuss the movement choices.

This is the original arts alignment from this lesson seed. We at EdCloset love using rock dance as a means to demonstrate understanding of various scientific cycles. So, this is a natural alignment.

Have students create a rock dance sequence to reflect how rocks and fossils are formed. Then, choreograph movement to reflect changes in landscape. Each group’s dance should have a beginning, middle, and end, with each section lasting at least 8 beats.

Visual Art

VA:Cr1.2.4.a: Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers.

Students use visual arts tools to replicate the process of how sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks are created. They can use crayons to heat, cool, and compress particles into crayon rock sculptures. You can find more information about creating crayon rocks here and here.


MU:Re9.1.4.a: Evaluate musical works and performances, applying established criteria, and explain appropriateness to the context.

 The lesson seed calls for three pieces of music at varying tempi to align with each of the three types of rocks, so the connection to music is already built into the lesson. However, in order to access this music standard, just dig a little deeper into step 1. You could offer more than three pieces of music, asking students to choose from the selections and support their choices using musical vocabulary and referencing particular elements of music.


TH:Cr1.1.4.a: Articulate the visual details of imagined worlds, and improvised stories that support the given circumstances in a drama/theatre work.

Again, this connection is built into the “extension” piece of the lesson seed. If you choose to have students access the science content through theatre, this could stand alone as a means to integrate the arts. Have students write and perform a monologue as one of the three types of rocks, paying attention to who their “character” is. What word choices are appropriate? How would their character speak as they perform their monologue?
Rock Dance, One Standard, Four Seeds, Education Closet

Download the Rock Dance Lesson

Download the Rock Formation Dance Assessment