Caribbean Dance Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to help you teach your students about the art of Caribbean dancing. Students will read a text lesson giving the history of the dance, characteristics, then explain three types of Caribbean dances. Ask and answer questions during reading, then put your dancing shoes on!

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • discuss the history of Caribbean dance
  • explain characteristics of Caribbean dance
  • identify and describe the Mamba, Merengue, and Calypso


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson Caribbean Dance: Styles, Moves & History, one for each student
  • Online videos of the Mamba, Merengue, and Calypso dances, with music
  • Directions for doing the Mamba, Merengue, and Calypso
  • Map of the Caribbean
  • Access to the internet

Key Vocabulary

  • Caribbean dance
  • Taino people
  • Polyrhythmic
  • Polycentric
  • Body isolation
  • Whining
  • Mambo
  • Salsa
  • Merengue
  • Chase
  • Calypso
  • Soca

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Show students a video of one of the dances from the Caribbean with sound. Allow them to get up and move around to the beat of the music, imitating the dancers if desired.
  • After a few minutes, switch the video/music to one of the other styles. Do so again, playing the third style for students to watch and dance to.
  • Now have students return to their seats and talk to a partner, discussing:
    • What did you notice about these dances?
    • What did you notice about the music?
    • What types of dances did we see?
  • Tell students these are considered Caribbean dances. Show them a map of the Caribbean for reference and allow students to share prior knowledge and experience.

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