Math in movement

Bon Crowder shared this very interesting TED talk about some of the mathematics in movement and dance. I recommend reading her post to see some more resources on the mathematics of dance and movement.


Erik and Karl show some ways in which one can explore combinatorics, topology, symmetry, patterns in numbers, and fractions through movement.

An obvious question I have is, where else could we embed movement into mathematics?

  • Students could count their steps while they move from classroom to classroom, or count steps as they climb them.
  • A teacher could put a giant number line (or cartesian plane) on the floor of their classroom and students could practice arithmetic visually.
  • Students could verify the Pythagorean theorem by counting steps as they walk along the legs and hypotenus of a large right-angled triangle on a playing field.
  • When students all dance in a group, they could create tesselation patterns as they move across the dance floor in a group. They may need to see a video (shot from above) of themselves moving to see why this is interesting.

What are some other ways in which we could use movement activities to explore mathematical ideas?



  • David, I came across your blog while searching for math and movement connections. As you are in NYC, you might be interested in attending or visiting us at the Language of Dance Foundations course at the Dance Education Laboratory, 92nd Street Y, July 14-18,, courses.

    The Language of Dance Approach to teaching and learning dance, developed by Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest, internationally known for her development of Labanotation, uses the symbolic representation of basic movement concepts, the Movement Alphabet, to graphically represent dance and movement ideas in a structure called Motif notation. Each Movement Alphabet concept represents a large family of related movement ideas; i.e. the concept of Rotation “holds” within it the multiple variations of rotation (turn, somersault, cartwheel, wheel, twist), each of which, despite the fact that they look different, all depend on an axis and a plane. Each of the Movement Alphabet captures big movement ideas, while Motif notation captures big movement themes, the equivalent of a jazz music chart, melody and chords only.

    I think the possibilities to use the Movement Alphabet to teach math concepts through movement are probably substantial and the notational/documentation possibilities are enormous.

    Go to, to find out about us and the Dance Education Laboratory LOD Foundations course I will be teaching with Dr. Tina Curran in July.


    Susan Gingrasso, Professor Emeritis, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and currently Language of Dance Center USA Associate Director.  




  • Hi David,

    I can’t remember if you were in the session at the BCAMT in Victoria 2 years ago that Susan Gerofsky from UBC presented on Incorporating Movement in mathematics. I found it to be a fascinating presentation. Anyway, a number of her publications on movement, dance and math learning are available on her website: Susan Gerofsky Publications Page She presented at Bridges 2013 and produced this short film about her work. She had an excellent video at the workshop showing students acting out the shape of graphs, identifying the roots with sounds. She might be able to share if you get in touch with her.

    2 other things on the topic you might be interested in, an intercultural computing studies dance group Algorhythmics that uses folk dances to dance algorithms for sorting numbers. Two can be seen here:

    If you haven’t seen the Discovering the Art of Mathematics books, though a work in progress are a very good resource. I’ve used a number of activities modified with my Foundations 11 this semester already from the other books.





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