DANCE OF THE CONTINENTS - TEACHING PLATE TECTONICS THROUGH DANCE
The initial production during the Fall 2011 involved 80 8th grade students for an audience of 900 peers. The second production in the Spring 2012 semester involved 100 6th grade students for an audience of 500 peers. In its current form, students act in 19 scenes, each of which commonly lasts between two and five minutes for a total show time of 55 minutes. Scenes focus on various aspects of plate tectonic theory (e.g., evidence for Pangea, age of seafloor). Each scene involves performers, music and props. Production costs are minimal for small budgets and larger budgets can include video projection and theatrical lighting. While possible with as few as 15 or more than 150 students, a total of 50 to 100 students is ideal. Preparation includes discussing content, viewing a past performance, and implementing an original show by group walkthroughs and small group practices that are aided with available videos. The minimum time commitment by students and teachers is 12 hours, but more time enhances the outcome.
The resources at http://tcuideafactory.org/dance-of-the-continents-videos facilitate an independent production. Although suggestions are available here, teachers and students can engage creatively and truly personalize the show.