Dance Moves Algorithms

Dance Moves Algorithms

  • algorithms-concept-icon


In this lesson pupils will make up a dance routine and create the instructions (an algorithm) for a partner to follow.

Pupil Objectives

  • I can follow instructions.
  • I can create a sequence of instructions for people to follow (an algorithm).
  • I understand that the order of instructions is important.


  • Explain to the pupils that they are going to be dance instructors.
  • Show pupils the different dance move cards that they can use and ask them to repeat as you model the moves (e.g. jump, spin, wave arms).
  • Hold up each card in turn and ask the pupils to show you the different moves to ensure pupils are familiar with all the moves before starting.

Main Activity

Class demonstration:

  • Explain to the class that they are going to create their own dance routine by choosing a sequence of moves. Explain, if relevant, that a sequence of instructions to get something done is called an algorithm.
  • Place a sequence of 5 or 6 move cards on the board and ask the pupils to follow the instructions to complete the dance routine. Ask what happens if you swap two cards around? Explain that changing the order of the cards will change the routine.

Pupils create algorithms:

  • Set the pupils the task of creating their own dance routine. Give each pupil a set of the dance move cards and ask them to create a sequence. Provide multiples of each card so that they can have repeated moves.
  • Encourage pupils to test their different algorithms by following the routine themselves.
  • Once they have completed their own sequence, invite pupils to ask a partner to follow the dance routine.
  • Pupils can record their algorithms by sticking down the images into a sequence or writing up the steps.


  • Ask pupils to share their routines with the class for everyone to follow.
  • Revisit/introduce the term algorithm. Explain that they have created a sequence of instructions and ask why the order of these instructions is important. What would happen if they swapped moves around?


  • Support: The quantity of different dance moves should be kept to a minimum. Focus on the ability to sequence 3 or 4 steps. Each pupil can choose 3 or 4 cards and stick these on the board for the whole class to follow. Visually impaired pupils can use recordable buttons with dance instructions to create their sequence.
  • Stretch & challenge: Perform a simple routine and ask pupils to create the algorithm for the dance using the dance move cards. They should then test it – is it the same? If not pupils will need to debug their program. Pupils can be given a ‘repeat __ times’ card, so that they can repeat the whole sequence. Explain that we use repetition to make an algorithm shorter and easier to understand. Pupils could be challenged to use selection in a class dance algorithm, by including if … else statements (e.g. ‘if you have brown hair then jump, else crouch down’).

Extension Ideas

  • Ask pupils to take photographs of their different moves and use these on a computer/tablet to sequence their algorithm.
  • Ask pupils to decompose a longer dance into sections and assign a section for each person to perform.                                

Teaching Notes:

Concepts and approaches

  • As pupils create a sequence of dance moves using the cards they are creating an algorithm.

Curriculum Links

  • Computing: Understand what an algorithm is.
  • PSHE: Working with others.
  • PE: Creating and following a dance routine


  • Movement picture cards
  • Extension cards ‘repeat’, ‘loop’, ‘if’, ‘else’

This resource was designed in conjunction with Kim Calvert and Tom Radge, CAS Master Teachers of Computing working in special educational needs schools.