Dance Dance Transversal – A Guide

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.34.29 PM


Although the original idea comes from Algebrainiac, my colleague, J.J. Martinez, first heard about Dance Dance Transversal when participating in a middle school math chat (#msmathchat) on Twitter.  Dance Dance Transversal connects the game Dance Dance Revolution with the concept of 2 parallel lines cut by a transversal. Once he heard about the idea, he created a powerpoint slide show in the same style as Dance Dance Revolution and set it to music.  As I began to use his activity, students voiced their desire for more song choices, so I offered to help create a few more powerpoints.

JJ Martinez’ Twitter handle:  @MrMartinezRUSD

Link to Dance Dance Transversal Powerpoints

Many teachers have asked for the template to create more DDT Powerpoints.  Their additions have been added to the folder.  Folder

Link to Tap Tap Trigonometry

*******************************************************************************  Introduction

IMG_7415I recently brought this activity to two 8th grade math classes. The conversation started as soon as students walked in and saw the tape on the floor.

Students:  “Why is there tape on the floor?”  ”               Me:  “Describe what you see?”                                             Students:  “A not equal sign, intersecting lines, parallel lines…”

Eventually someone will say, “a transversal

Once it’s clear that each mini dance floor consists of 2 parallel lines cut by a transversal, it’s time to explain the dance moves.


Teaching the Dance Moves

This is an extremely important part of the activity. Be thorough when teaching the dance moves!  We want students to have fun dancing, but if they don’t get enough foot work practice then frustration will set in and the activity will be a bust.  

Dance Move 1:  Alternate Exterior Angles  Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 7.24.23 PM

Dance Move 2:  Alternate Interior Angles

Dance Move 3:  Corresponding Angles

Dance Move 4:  Same Side Interior Angles

1.  For this part, I draw one dance move at a time, starting with Alternate Exterior, and ask the kids to describe what they see.  Since I used this activity as a review, students were already familiar with the vocabulary – but a refresher was needed.

2.  After the students identified the drawing as alternate exterior angles, I start integrating the whole class response.

  • Me:  I’m going to ask a question and I want everyone to answer it. What’s the first dance move?
  • All Students:  “Alternate Exterior Angles”

3.  I love this strategy and use it often.  Why?

  • Increased student involvement.  Why call on one student when I need all students to know this specific piece of information.
  • All students get a chance to practice using academic language.
  • The targeted whole class response allows introverts and ELs to practice language in a safe environment.

4. The following process is repeated for each dance move:

  • Draw diagram
  • Describe and label the angle relationship.
  • Targeted whole class response.

5. After discussing dance move #4, the target whole class response sounds like:

  • Me:  What’s dance move #2?
  • Students:  Alternate Interior Angles
  • Me: Dance move #1?
  • Students:  Alternate Exterior Angles
  • Me:  Dance move #4?
  • Students:  Same Side Interior
  • Me:  Dance move #3?
  • Students:  Corresponding Angles
  • Me:  #4?
  • Students: Same side interior etc…

6.  The next step is for the students to practice the steps.  Once they’re all are standing on their individual dance floors, I ask:

  • Me: Everyone, What is dance move number 1?
  • Students shout:  Alternate Exterior Angles.
  • Me:  Show me!

7.  The classroom teacher and I walk around and check every student’s foot placement and help students where needed. We repeat this process for every dance move!

8.  After checking dance move #2 (alternate interior angles), I start, what I call, rapid fire practice.  It sounds like:  show me…

  • Alternate exterior angles.
  • The other set of alternate exterior angles.
  • Alternate interior angles.
  • The other set of alternate interior angles.

9.  By conducting a rapid fire practice session after checking each dance move, I’m providing the scaffolding many students need in order to be successful once the music starts playing. As stated earlier, the goal is for the students to have fun dancing.  This will only happen if they get enough foot work practice.

10.  After checking the 4th dance move, the rapid fire practice sounds like:  Show me…

  • Alternate exterior angles.
  • The other set of alternate exterior angles.
  • Alternate interior angles.
  • The other set of alternate interior angles.
  • Corresponding angles
  • Another set of corresponding angles
  • Same side interior angles.
  • The other set of same side interior angles


Let’s Dance!

I typically start with Michael Jackson’s, Billie Jean.  I start the powerpoint, the students hear the music and the angle relationships start scrolling up the screen.  When it’s time for the students to make their first move, I press pause.  This gives students an opportunity to get their feet in the correct spot.  When I see that the majority of the students are all set, I continue playing until it’s time to make their second move.  I continue this for the first 8 – 9 dance moves. By then, students are ready to go.



1.  Some students have a difficult time simultaneously watching the powerpoint and dancing.  For these students, I stand next to them and call out the dance moves so they don’t have to look at the screen.  Instead they can simply focus on their foot placement.

2.  I’ll also use the dance floor next to them, call out the angle relationship and “dance” along side of them if needed.  Again, it’s easier for them to visually jump between my feet and theirs than it is to look at the screen and then their feet.

3.  A few times students have volunteered to announce the angle relationships to the class.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 6.07.23 AM4.  Early in the dancing, I video the class and send it to my email.  Later on, when the students are tired and need a break, I’ll play  the video of them dancing.  They love this!!

5.  If the students ask you to dance – then DANCE!   The math teacher was a good dancer – he had algorithm.  (Math Puns)

6.  As students get a hang of the game, they’ll ask for a challenge. You have the ability to change the tempo of the song. Most of the time, students want to increase the speed but I’ve had one class request to slow it down.

To change the speed, click on the settings button in the lower right hand corner and choose a speed of your choice.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 6.14.20 AM                      Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 6.14.36 AM

7.  To offer another challenge, there’s a powerpoint that involves 5 dance moves. Vertical Angles was added to the mix.


8.  Once the students understand the parameters of the game, you may want to return to it as an opening activity, after a test or during the last 10 minutes of the class on a Friday afternoon.

********************************************************************************** Desmos Activities (& some other posts)


About jgvadnais

Math Coach. Desmos Fellow. Google Level 1 Certified. SoCal transplant. New Englander at heart. Lover of yoga, dogs, green smoothies and coffee.
This entry was posted in angle relationships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Dance Dance Transversal – A Guide

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  3. Lisa Kennedy says:

    I am unable to access the power-points for dance dance traversal. Would you be willing to email them to me? Thank you


  4. Katherine says:

    So is this how you introduced the vocab or had kids seen it before? I love this idea!!!


    • jgvadnais says:

      Thank you.:)

      I’m a math coach, therefore by the time I brought this activity to the teachers, they had already taught the vocab. I’m sure there would be a way to introduce the “dance moves” as you introduce the vocabulary.

      If you do vary the lesson, please let me know what you did and how it went. Have fun!!


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  8. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for doing this!! I can’t wait to do this with my students! They are going to love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kimberly A Simpson says:

    Do you have a template for creating more dance powerpoints?


  10. I love this idea! I hope my students will get into it 🙂 Does anyone have the video or powerpoint for the one including Vertical Angles?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane says:

    Could I also get a template of the powerpoint if available?


  12. kim says:

    This is very engaging! Would I be able to get the template?


    • jgvadnais says:

      From the creator, @MrMartinezRUSD, of the DDT template: Here’s the template:… Please post anything you do with it.

      I’d love for you to share it with me, then I can add to the established list.


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  14. Sheri Walker says:

    I would love the template for the PowerPoint if you are able and willing to share … I teach in Canada and we refer to vertical angles as opposite angles … Often same side interior are referred to as co-interior so I would like to change the language to reflect this. I also thought about trying to continue to add to the number of songs … Looks like fun … Can’t wait to try it.


    • jgvadnais says:

      From the creator, @MrMartinezRUSD, of the DDT template: Here’s the template:… Please post anything you do with it.

      I’d love for you to share it with me, then I can add to the established list.


  15. kellyruder says:

    Could I also get the template to create more powerpoints, please.


    • jgvadnais says:

      From the creator, @MrMartinezRUSD, of the DDT template: Here’s the template:… Please post anything you do with it.

      I’d love for you to share it with me, then I can add to the established list.


  16. Francis E. Borromeo says:

    I was unable to open the link you provided. Can you jusy email it to me? 🙂


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