How to learn liquid dance

Primary science activities - particle dance


Published 11 June 2021

Science is a creative subject and like science, science teaching is all the better for a creative approach. With this, lessons become meaningful, engaging, active and memorable. We spoke to authors Jon Board and Dr Alan Cross about one of their favourite primary science activities.

Teachers know the value of practical demonstrations and hands on, minds on activities in all lessons. Indeed, many teachers will have used learner movement and action in science lessons and will have experienced how role-play, dance and drama can make science more accessible to learners.


Particle dance

One activity that is very popular with learners and teachers is the particles role-play or dance. Primary learners may have heard of the small particles that make up the materials around them. In primary, we refer to tiny particles rather than terms like ‘atom’, which can lead to confusion.

With primary and lower secondary learners, we can show that the properties of solids, liquids and gases can be explained.

Share with learners the learning objective for this activity:

  • Stage 4-6: Know that a model can represent something / know that models are not always perfect
  • Stage 5: Know the main properties of water (this would be an extension activity)
  • Stage 6: Know that the temperature at which a substance changes state is a property of the substance.


Just before you start, remind your learners that water can exist in three states – solid, liquid and gas and that we call these ice, liquid water and water vapour (pictures or physical examples are a great help). Write these terms in the chat box (if online) or on a poster.

Explain that together, we are going to make a simple model. It is a role-play, but it is also a model that will help us learn. In this dance, learners move their bodies to replicate how particles move in solids, liquids and gases.

Below we have a face-to-face version for the classroom or school hall, as well as an online version.


In class

Download activity

A group of 6-10 learners begin with arms interlocked, close together, standing still but with slightly vibrating bodies. You might then use gentle beats on a tambourine to signal that you are adding heat energy.

Next, tell the learners, “you are now modelling solid water (ice) a fixed shape with no ability to move around. Listen to the beat (harder, a little quicker), I am warming you up, you are gaining heat energy, you can move a little more.” The learners then vibrate a little more with interlocked arms preparing to release their arms to simulate melting.

With more ‘heat’ (beats on the tambourine) and your signal to “melt!”, the children release arms and, still close together, move slowly in relation to one another. They now simulate liquid water able to move and change shape. At this point, ask the learners “are you modelling ice or liquid water?”

With more heat applied, they can move more vigorously, but still close together. As you add heat, learners increase their movement and children simulate boiling.

The signal “evaporate!” means that learners move a little more quickly, yet safely, away from the group. Here, they represent water vapour, the gaseous form of water.



Download activity

Check that learners can stand safely and move about a little without bumping into things and ask them to keep movements small.

If possible, ask them all to have cameras on and to switch to the gallery view so that they can see one another.

Explain that they should stand and vibrate a little (mention that if we were in class they would lock arms with friends so they would form a vibrating block). Here they are a solid particle, which cannot move.

Next, ask them to repeat back to you, “I am a tiny, vibrating water particle. I am locked with other water particles and we call this solid water or ice.”

Let them rest, explaining that ice has properties; it is cold, hard and will not change shape easily. You cannot pour it like liquid water.

Explain that you will bang a drum (or whatever is at hand) to represent warming. Ask them to return to the solid state – standing still, with a slight vibration. Gently bang the drum and say, “I am giving you a little heat energy, you are a little warmer so vibrate a little more.” Repeat this and explain that they are warmer now and therefore a liquid able to move a little.

Tilt your camera to the left, telling your students, “you are liquid so all move to the left.” Wait a second and repeat to the right. Ask them to repeat after you “I am warmer now, I am a water particle with more heat energy, I can flow one way and then another.” Repeat each way and ask them to rest.

Ask the learners to stand and move a little to one side and the other. Beat on the drum and say, “now you have a little more energy, you can become water vapour, and float in the air.”

Explain that as a gas, they might blow around a lot but they should stay in front of the screen. Ask them to wave their arms gently to represent floating. Finally, organise learners into a break-out room to talk about, and even repeat, the activity (one learner may have to clap, as they may not have a drum).



Conclude the face-to-face or online version by explaining that together we made a live model to help us understand water particles.

Check the learning objectives to see if every learner has achieved them.

Explain that together we acted out the properties of water as a solid, liquid and gas. Ask students to list good features of the model, e.g. three stages, changes, easy to understand, fun, possible to reverse (liquid to solid, solid to liquid).

They can also suggest ways in which it was not perfect, e.g. water particles are much smaller; in water there are millions of particles; particles of water vapour can fly around the room and very high in the sky!



Ice is a different material to water. This is not true, as depending on temperature, water can be a solid, a liquid or a gas.

You can pour sand, so it is a liquid. Grainy solids like sand can be poured, but a single grain cannot. Liquids always form a smooth surface when they settle; this is not true for grainy solids.


Follow up

You might video record the dance, face-to-face or online, and ask learners to describe what the science shows, e.g. in the solid state, particles form a block and have a fixed shape. Learners could write a script or storyboard for the video or write a narrative for the recording.

Learners could also draw the three stages of the dance, adding speech bubbles so that the particles can explain their properties.

Lessons like this, with a strong movement element, encourage learners to participate. This can be ideal for those who have difficulty with language, as they can express ideas with their bodies. Opportunities to talk about the dance or drama can provide excellent scaffolding for learning.

You will get the most out of dance and drama in science if you provide discussion about the movement and the science. Can learners say what they are representing at this point in the role-play? Can they say what is happening? Why this is important? What will happen next?



Audio and video records can add considerable value to these activities. Lessons with these elements are often very memorable and aide learning. And remember, if you do video the particle dance with your students, share it with us on Twitter, we’d love to see it!

So get creative, try this in classes and adapt it. Ask your learners to be creative, put them in charge and ask them to develop it.

If you have enjoyed becoming a water particle, you will find more activities like this in our primary and lower secondary science learner’s books and workbooks. Check out our full range on our primary and lower secondary hub.


About the authors

Jon Board leads the PGCE Primary Science course at the University of Manchester, leads Science CPD, author and consultant to Cambridge University Press and a range of UK and overseas organisations.

Twitter: @jonboarduk

Dr. Alan Cross is a consultant, author and trainer in Primary and Lower Secondary STEM subjects to Cambridge University Press and organisations around the world.

Twitter: @AlanBryceCross

What Is The Shuffle Dance? Learn How To Do It In 5 Minutes!

In the recent years, we’ve seen a lot of EDM fans show off this weird, and somewhat new, dance move in a lot of music videos, throughout the web and on Youtube in their own personal videos. It seems like you are missing out on a lot of fun when you’re not sure what it’s all about and how to do it.

At first sight, it seems like the person is running while smiling and having a good time. To dance music fans, shuffling is more than just having a good time. As with most things EDM-related, it is a form of self expression, an accomplishment, and as some put it “a way to improve their mental and physical health”.

The Shuffle dance was developed in the 1980s, it is improvised dancing where the person repeatedly “shuffles” the feet inwards, then outwards, while thrusting their arms up and down, or side to side, in time with the beat.  

Let’s go into more details and learn more about the dance and find out how you can start dancing it in 5 minutes!

Where did it start?

The Shuffling dance started in Melbourne, Australia, in the underground rave scene back in the early 1980s. Back then, it was known as the Melbourne Shuffle. With the growth of the electronic dance music scene around the world, Shuffling dance popularity grew and is now practiced by people from around the world at all the major EDM festivals. In 2012, the Melbourne Shuffle became a popular dance in the UK and became known as simply “The Shuffle”.

The Best Music For Shuffling

Melbourne’s underground scene in the early 90s was under the huge influence of Techno music. This high-BPM electronic music sub-genre placed the perfect beat for shuffle dancers. But shuffling became so popular that it crossed over into electro house and hardstyle genres. Today, shuffling spans into almost the full spectrum of electronic dance music. We’ve seen shuffling in videos from EDM, Trance, House, Techno, Electro and most of it’s sub-genres.

The best music for Shuffling is usually the more upbeat versions of electronic music. Although any EDM genre will work for the dance. Which makes Shuffling a very versatile dancing style: you can choose whatever music you want to dance on. There’s no limit to how much you can personalize this dance.

Check out this Spotify playlist for music to Shuffle dance on.


Shuffling For Beginners

As a beginner, you have to learn to master just two basic moves before moving on to the more advanced stuff.

The first image below shows the T-step movement. The second is the same T-step combined with a variation of the running man dance. You can take a closer look at the dance by watching it being performed by Janet Jackson in the video of her hit “Rhythm Nation”.

A great tip you can keep in mind as beginners is that you can sprinkle talcum powder or add liquid to the floor to help you slide more smoothly and easily.

After mastering the basic shuffle moves you can now throw in some jumps, spins and slides. You’ll make the dance your own, having a complete shuffle routine that’s personalized and unique to you alone. After that, all you need is some awesome EDM banging music blasting through your speakers and let the fun begin!

Time To Learn How To Shuffle

Learning how to shuffle might seem like a difficult task, but it really isn’t!

When you take it slow, understand the steps and practice, you’ll be ready to hit the dance floor in no time!

As we previously mentioned, you’ll be starting out  by learning the basic “running man” move. With time, you’ll be able to switch things up and add your unique twists to the overall dance. Hell, you might end up having a unique dance for every song, you’ll become the unstoppable Shuffle Master! Sounds awesome no?

In the below tutorial video, you will learn the basics of Running Man. You’ll start by breaking down the steps easily and after that we put the steps to the counts and then to the music.

When getting started, keep these tips in mind:

1. Start slow – learn and practice the basics over a period of time
2. Dance in front of a mirror to better see what you’re doing
3. Copy the experts: watch Youtube videos to see how others are doing it
4. Wear good shoes and socks (or your feet will hurt like hell!)
5. Start slow, use slower BPM tracks such as deep house at first to get the hang of it first
6. Find people who already have mastered the dance and become friends, they’ll give you tips and tricks from their own experience

And most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! Like everything in life, this will take it’s time to master and will need practice time, even though it looks easy in the videos.

Here Are Some Advanced Moves

The Kick Side Step:


The Charleston Shuffle:

Club Dance Footwork Moves:

Are There Any Benefits To Shuffling?

Shuffling, as you might have already discovered by now, is a lot of work. Your legs are moving, your hands are moving and your whole body is balancing itself throughout. You will be sweating in out when you shuffle, that’s almost a guarantee. But consider it a workout. Throughout the years, fitness experts and clubs have promoted dancing to music as a sort of exercise regime. And it is! Nowadays, shuffling falls into that category.

During a shuffling dance, your full body is moving and shaking. Burning around 500-1,500 calories an hour. Your leg muscles, calves, and glutes (and behind area) are getting toned with every passing minute, in addition to the toning of your abdominal muscles, with every twist and turn. Your legs get a serious focus, in addition to the muscles being stretched and toned, the joints and ligaments in your legs are getting some much needed attention. They’re getting extra strength with every active move.

But shuffling not only improves physical health. It can do wonders to your mental health as well. Similar to other physical workouts, shuffling releases endorphins into your nervous system. These are the anti-stress hormones, and the longer you shuffle, the longer they’ll stay in your system and the more stress and anxiety goes out of your way.Shuffling also improves mental focus, you’re in your zone trying to keep the rhythm going and focused on your moves, being in this mindful state is very beneficial to you. Once you’re in your rhythm and going about your dance, the success of every move will boost your confidence levels and keep you away from the everyday stresses of our lives. You’ll have a great sense of accomplishment after a successful streak. One dance will create a momentum in you to keep on going and try the more complex moves and get out of your comfort zone.

Speaking of “zones” being focused on your body movements will also bring you closer to the music. This deeper appreciation for the melodies and the detailed undertones of the track adds a special bond between you and your favorite artists.

There’s a whole community of Shuffle dancers out there. With the above knowledge and some time to practice, you’ll join them on the dance floor and you’ll be showing those awesome moves at the next EDM festival in no time!

Want more? Learn how to grind dance in minutes, go to our article right here.

Read More on EDM Festival Insider:

Where to start to dance

How to choose the style that suits you and what to look for when looking for a school

The abundance of schools and dance teachers has solved the problem of where to learn to dance. But it also created a new one: how to choose from all this.

It is easier to solve a large problem by breaking it into several smaller ones. So we will do it: first we will decide on the style, and then we will select the right school.

Types of dances

Dance schools usually divide dances into the following groups:

  • Classical choreography

(ballet, modern, contemporary, body ballet, different jazz dancing options)

  • Modern styles

(hip-hop, Loking, Vog, Popping, Jazz-Fants.

  • Ballroom dancing

(European and Latin American program)

  • Social dancing0017

(salsa, bachata, merengue, kizomba, argentine tango, hustle, swing, zouk)

  • national styles

Classics and its legacy

Many contemporary movements are based and inspired by ballet or classical choreography.

Ballet technique implies a certain constitution: a very good stretch, a developed vestibular apparatus and a high level of physical fitness.

children from 3 years old, professional dancers of other styles. Both teenagers and adults can do classical music without choreographic training. But if the goal of the classes is precisely a ballet career, it is better to start practicing before the age of 8 and after consulting a teacher: with an unsuitable constitution (poor eversion of the feet, low elasticity of the ligaments, wide and heavy bone), no diligence, unfortunately, will give a good result - ballet very demanding. However, the classical base will help in absolutely any dance direction.

Body ballet is a relatively young direction, it is based on the classical base and supplemented with elements of yoga, gymnastics and Pilates.

for those who like the aesthetics of ballet. There are no restrictions in the style itself, but they can be set for a specific group: there are adult and children's groups, mixed and purely female.

Modern (jazz modern) and contemporary are based on ballet technique (jumps, rotations, positions of arms and legs), but much more variable.

Modern is a style that was born among professional dancers as a protest against the rigid framework of ballet, which does not allow for self-expression. Art Nouveau is much more plastic than ballet and is more focused on improvisation.

Contemporary is in many ways similar to modern, but this style is more directed outward: more acting and pantomime, inserts from other styles. There are no specific requirements for music or limits of acceptable movements in contempo.

both styles are suitable for children from 8 years old, adults without serious joint or spinal problems, ready for regular exercise (from twice a week). Which one to choose depends on the taste and comfort in the group of a particular teacher.

Modern dance

Hip-hop is the most typical example of street dance. It originated in the 70s of the last century in New York as part of the street subculture. Usually this is a solo dance to music suitable for this subculture: for example, rap or R'n'B. The movements are active, built on the quality of the whole body in beat and playing with musical accents with jumps, sudden stops and other specific movements. An important component of the direction has always been battles, first street, and now - of a very different scale.

breaking (distinguished by an abundance of power rotations and acrobatics), locking (based on the change of active fast movements and freezing), popping (very fast relaxation and muscle tension, creating the illusion of a mechanical movement), house (quick active leg movements with a relaxed, smooth body).

In addition, similar dances with national characteristics appeared on the basis of hip-hop: ragga in Jamaica, reggaeton in Puerto Rico, afrohouse in Angola.

children from 5 years old, teenagers, young people.

Catwalk and heels

There are several styles based on the study of gait, posture, the ability to walk (and dance) in high heels, pose and flirt.

Vogue originated among American gay people in the 60s of the last century. The choreography is based on imitation of the walk of models at fashion shows or posing for photographs in the style of fashion magazines. The movements are emphatically mannered, there are many rotations and falls, the choreography develops coordination and isolation well, especially in the work of the hands. In the vogue community, it is customary to hold balls - large-scale parties with an obligatory battle of dancers on the podium.

Waking also focuses on precise hand movements and postures, but this style is not as aggressive and campy as wog. In addition, in waking there are male and female versions of the choreography (in vogue, the movements are equally feminine for everyone).

The strip plastic was originally limited to strip club style pole movements. Now this direction has acquired elements of classics, acrobatics and movements from other dance styles.

High heels - literally "high heels" (not lower than 12-13 cm). This is the only mandatory element of the direction, otherwise each dancer and teacher mixes it according to their personal skills and preferences. All the already listed modern trends in different proportions are found in this style.

Jazz funk also incorporated elements of many styles (mainly hip-hop, waking and jazz choreography). The style is mannered and outrageous, aimed at attracting attention.

Twerk or booty dance is a dance based on the technique of ragga, hip-hop and other styles. Almost all choreography is concentrated in the hip area. Due to such a concentrated load, the buttocks are quickly tightened.

adults over 16 years old. Classes in high heels and with a pole are usually not recommended for people with pressure drops, dizziness and a weak vestibular apparatus.

Ballroom dancing

Ballroom dances include paired dances, divided into two programs: European and Latin American. European include Slow Waltz, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep . The Latin American program includes samba, paso doble, rumba, jive and cha-cha-cha . The European program is considered more restrained, smooth and elegant, while the Latin American program is more expressive and energetic.

Regardless of the program, ballroom dancing is more focused on entertainment than on the inner feelings of the dancers. These styles are strictly regulated by the rules of dance associations and are intended primarily for competitions and competitions in which dancers are assigned classes. To achieve a serious level, it is better to start at an early age.

children from 4 years of age, if the parents are ready for significant expenses: costumes, accessories, preparation and participation in competitions are not cheap.

Social dancing

The most general definition for all areas of social dancing is dancing for oneself. Not for competitions, performances or earnings, but for fun. Recently, pair dances are mainly classified as social dances. All these directions are intended for dancing at parties with certain music (for each style of its own) with any partner who owns the same dance.

Salsa is a complex of musical and dance styles. In terms of choreography, the most popular styles are Cuban (salsa casino or timba) and American styles (salsa NY or LA). For a beginner, the differences are insignificant, usually preferences are formed in the process of training. The music and choreography is quite high tempo.

In combination with salsa, other Latin American dances are often taught: bachata , merengue , reggaeton , rumba and cha-cha-cha .

adults (16+). There is no upper age limit, some start exercising at the age of over 60, but you need to assess your readiness for stress.

Argentine tango is a pair dance that was born on the border of Argentina and Paraguay at the end of the 19th century. It has different musical and dance styles (tango waltz, milonga, tango nuevo), as well as stable traditions and a peculiar code of conduct. The first generations of tangero even had a secret language, which is now partly merged into Argentine slang. Since tango music can be emotionally very different, the stereotype about the passion and drama of this dance is not particularly justified. But the tango community cannot be denied elegance and grace.

adults who are aesthetically close to tango culture. There is no lower age limit for dancers, but young dancers often lack momentum.

Swing is such a perky complex of different dances to swing music. These include Lindy Hop , Balboa , Boogie Woogie , Charleston and others. Since the music is light and cheerful, the dance energy is also positive, without drama and suffering. But physical activity, due to the tempo of music and movements, is noticeable. This is not typical for pair dances, but in swing there is some desire for unisex: the choreography for men and women differs little in character, usually only in role (leader / follower).

young people with good physical fitness who are in love with jazz and swing music.

Kizomba and zouk are two types of pair dances performed to quite similar music with a pronounced electronic beat. Kizomba is an African pair dance based on the semba, characterized by a low pace of movement and very close contact in a pair. Zouk is usually much more active, it has more movement and rotation.

young people who are not embarrassed by close contact in a couple.

National dances

Usually such styles are chosen from the interest in the culture and music of a particular country. But some national dances have important advantages for certain categories of beginner dancers.

Flamenco (Spain) is suitable for those who want to improve their posture and increase self-confidence.

Russian folk dances can serve as an excellent choreographic base for a child. In the classroom, they usually work seriously on stretching, posture (body position) and rhythmic coordination.

Samba (Brazil) can be a great way to lose weight and strengthen the muscles of the legs and hips, as well as improve posture.

Afro-Cuban folklore is rhythmically one of the most complex, suitable for musicians and in general for anyone who wants to develop a sense of rhythm.

Oriental dances or belly dance , tribal will help people in the body learn to love this very body, as well as to master it well. Many oriental dances glorify magnificent forms and teach them not to be shy about them.

Capoeira (Brazil) - This mix of dance and martial arts can be a great compromise between serious training and a dance hobby. Suitable for those who cannot choose between parquet and gym.

How to find the "right" school

Whatever dance style you choose to start your journey on the floor, keep a few simple rules in mind.

1. You should be comfortable

Dancing is, first of all, a process. You must be comfortable in class. Everyone has their own ideas about comfort, so it makes sense to look at different schools, determine the moments that are critical for you and choose where you are most comfortable.

Minimum required : light, air, level floor.

2. Get to know the chosen direction

Read the history and main characteristics of the dance, find out what styles it has, watch videos of notable dancers, listen to music.

Required minimum: In the selected school, you must clearly explain what exactly they teach there. If they can’t even tell you what style the teacher is dancing, this is an indicator of a very low level.

3. Look beyond the teacher

Students are a better indicator of the quality of teaching than a coach's regalia. If possible, find out where you can look exactly at the students: reporting concerts, show numbers, parties, competitions.

Required minimum : presence of continuing groups. If the school has been working for more than a year, and only beginners are on the schedule, it means that the teacher’s qualifications are not enough for long-term work.

4. Find out the teacher's goals

It happens that a student comes for a party and a fit figure, and the school or a particular teacher is imprisoned for monthly reporting concerts.

Required minimum : in the beginner group - the base and nothing else. In no high-quality school, "beginnings" are put on competitions and performances, especially forcibly.

5. Try different things

Even if after the first lesson you want to stay at school to live, it makes sense to look at others. Perhaps the excitement and euphoria at the first lesson have nothing to do with the school - just the body dances and rejoices.

Minimum required: Schools that are confident in their quality always offer trial lessons, open houses, or at least the option of paying for a one-time lesson. If you are forced to buy a subscription from the doorway, you can safely say goodbye. How dancing helps get rid of dizziness and become smarter Especially often from our men you can hear: "Men don't dance!". And rightly so, the occupation is not serious!




But in fact, dance is not only exercise for your body. It is also a kind of brain trainer! We have already published articles that playing sports, and running in particular, spur a person's cognitive abilities. Now it's time for the dancing.

Dancing improves brain function at various levels. Two recent studies have shown how different types of dance enable dancers to achieve peak performance by blending cerebral and cognitive processes with muscle memory and proprioception.

Proprioception, proprioception (from Latin proprius - "own, special" and receptor - "receiving"; from Latin capio, cepi - "accept, perceive"), deep sensitivity - a sense of the position of parts of one's own body relative to each other.

Through aerobic exercise at least twice a week, which combines different types of dance, everyone can maximize their brain function. Of course, we are not talking about the convulsive impulses of the body, which many people try to pass off as a dance, but about a dance in which not only the body, but also the brain is included in the work.

Professional dancers never get dizzy. Why?

If you're prone to dizziness, then you need to learn how to dance! A new study has found that dancing can help manage dizziness and improve balance. In September 2013, researchers at Imperial College London reported that choreographers have a slightly different brain structure than non-dancers. And it is these specific differences that help them avoid dizziness during pirouettes.

Visualization of movements helps improve muscle memory

Another study published in an article on showed that dancers are able to break down the dance into parts in their mind and mentally go through each movement, leaving a kind of "markers".

Findings published in Psychological Science suggest that such labeling may alleviate the conflict between the cognitive and physical aspects of dance. This is what allows the dancers to memorize the movements and perform them smoothly. They seem to be in a flow.

And at this time, their brain is working to its fullest, thinking through each step and connecting it with the next as smoothly as possible. So that from the outside it looks like one single, smooth movement, and not a set of separate intermittent ones.

How can this be applied?

How can the above research be applied to the everyday life of the common man, rather than the professional dancer?

If you learn to control the part of the brain responsible for this, you can help many people suffering from dizziness, not related to other problems in the body. Scientists are just working on this problem.

Dr. Barry Simangle of the Imperial College Medical Department has worked with many patients for whom dizziness has become a real problem. Ballet dancers are able to train their brains so that they stop feeling dizzy. So doctors wondered if they could use the same principles to help their patients.

Visualization and synchronization are quite applicable, for example, in the study of foreign languages. As in the case of dancing, the brain needs to perform two actions at the same time - to translate a word from one language to another. And not just translate, but put them into sentences. In addition, if the languages ​​differ significantly from each other, you have to work twice as hard.

Learn more