Lesson

Catesby Onstage

Lesson Overview

Early American naturalists were both artists and scientists; they studied the movement of animals in their natural habitats to better understand their behavior and to document the diversity of life around them.  They kept journals, took notes and often made several different images of the same animals.  Because of their work, we know much more about animal behavior and how it relates to their habitat.  We also have volumes of beautiful drawings that seek to capture the animal’s essence.  
Choreographers use the same processes as artists and scientists.  They study their topic and often take notes on what to include in their choreography.  They improvise, edit, and rehearse their work to help communicate their idea to an audience in ways that can be entertaining, informative, and memorable.  
In this unit, the students will recreate the processes choreographers use to create dances.  Focusing on South Carolina habitat, the students will study animals that are native to South Carolina and discuss how their physical characteristics have been adapted for survival in their habitat.  Using print media, video resources, and the drawings of Mark Catesby, the student will gather data about how an animal moves and how that relates to the world in which they live.  The student will summarize their findings in brief descriptions of the animal’s physical characteristics, and sequence the movement and text into a storytelling dance. 
 

Duration
Multiple days
Lesson Type
Project Based Lesson

Essential Question

What processes do artist and scientists share that help them communicate their ideas?

Grade(s):

Subject(s):

Other Instructional Materials or Notes:

3

Science

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Catesby Onstage

School: North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary

Grade(s): 5

The lesson was a dance performance project created by Erin Leigh, Choreographer and Dance Educator at the College of Charleston.  It features the drawings of Mark Catesby. An English naturalist who came to S.C. to record the plants and animals in their natural habitat. The drawings were used as a jumping off place for students to learn dance movements that correlate to animal movements and habitat.  
The performance and class were presented at the North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School.

To learn more about Mark Catesby visit, PBS LearningMedia

Remote video URL

Lesson Created By: Erin Leigh, Adjunct Professor College of Charleston

Lesson Partners: College of Charleston, Catesby Commemorative Trust, Charleston County School District