Center for Arts in Medicine


Embodied physics: Utilizing dance resources for learning and engagement in STEM

ABSTRACT: Access the full article

Background. Physics is often presented as disembodied, separating learners from opportunities to utilize their bodies as sense-making resources. By ignoring issues of body, ethnicity and culture, these framings limit access to physics for many, including Black girls, who struggle to gain access to physics. Studying the situated, embodied cultural practices of Black girls in physics learning environments provides a window into the range of resources available for physics exploration and illuminates possibilities for culturally relevant physics pedagogies.

Methods. We engaged in micro-ethnographic analysis of video of youth actions and interactions during collaborative activities that combined dance and dance-making practices with physics content.

Findings. Our findings show how (1) dance offered an embodied lens for physics investigation; (2) positioning movement as inquiry gave dancers access to an expanded vocabulary for sense-making; and (3) dance provided opportunities to bring in social and cultural resources as critical funds of knowledge.

Contributions. This article expands the view of funds of knowledge by reintroducing the body, movement, and embodied interaction as resources for learning and engagement and offers an expanded view of physics sense-making that includes cultural embodied resources and foregrounds Black girls, whose voices and experiences are often left out of learning research.

Article Citation: Folashadé Solomon, Dionne Champion, Mariah Steele & Tracey Wright (2022) Embodied physics: Utilizing dance resources for learning and engagement in STEM, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 31:1, 73-106, DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2021.2023543

CAM Faculty: Dr. Dionne Nicole Champion

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