11/17/2010 08:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Schoolhouse Rock: Teachers Combine Dance, Academics To Save On Classes

As schools struggle to find time for arts education in public schools nationwide, teachers are coming up with novel ways to integrate different art forms, like dance, into their students' core curriculum, reports Education Week.

For Ms. Wright-Sabbatino's second grade class in Maryland, that means learning about photosynthesis through interpretive dance:

Small groups of pupils in this class at Fort Garrison Elementary School brainstormed to come up with dance movements to convey elements of photosynthesis, including water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll. They leaned, they reached, they flowed, sometimes with surprising grace.

Rima Faber, a dance education expert who secured grants for the program in Maryland, describes the merge:

"We're addressing the science curriculum as required by the county and meeting the standards for dance education in a mutual learning experience...The more we teach through dance integration, the more we realize how dynamically it brings deep and complex learning to children."

In a recent study, the National Center for Education Statistics found that dance was offered to students in only 20 percent of elementary schools last year in the United States. Thanks to the integration model and innovators like Ms. Wright-Sabbatino, things are changing for students who wouldn't otherwise get the chance to dance.

Read more about her class at Education Week.