Chinese New Year – Fan Dance

Salpy Baharian, M.Ed Co-Founder

A hands-on lesson which integrates Social Studies concepts with performing arts (dance). Students will delve into customs of Chinese New Year by exploring traditional artifacts and dance.

Grade Level: K - 3rd


Length of Time: 50-60 Minutes

Objectives & Outcomes

After a lesson on Chinese New Year, the learner will create a traditional Chinese New Year fan using red construction paper, popsicle sticks, and gold glitter-glue. The learner will color the four Chinese calligraphy symbols that represent "Happy New Year". Students will partake in a traditional Chinese New Year fan dance.

Materials Needed

  • scissors
  • projector
  • internet access
  • gold glitter-glue
  • markers
  • red construction paper
  • “Celebrating Chinese New Year” by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
  • CD of Chinese New Year Music (e.g., Xi Yang Yang/Full of Joy). If music cannot be found, use YouTube (


Opening to Lesson

  • Teacher will read “Celebrating Chinese New Year” by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith.
  • Teacher will project a picture of a fan from China.
  • Teacher will show a segment from a YouTube clip of a Chinese New Year fan dance performance (
  • Teacher will facilitate a discussion regarding what students saw in the video. What was seen and why do you think it was there?

Body of Lesson

Guided Practice

  • Teacher will explain the significance of the fan in cultural performances
  • Fan dances represent of beauty, grace, skill, tradition and history.
  • Fan dances are ancient and are still used at ceremonies Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • Fans are viewed as good luck charms and expressions of generosity.
  • Next, teacher will model the steps to making a fan. Fold red paper like an accordion.
  • Then we will add gold glitter glue to represent the Chinese calligraphy. Finally, they will glue the base to a popsicle stick.
  • As the fans dry, students will watch the YouTube video to mimic and/or learn the steps to a simple Chinese fan dance.
  • Students will have five minutes to independently use the fans they created to practice the dance or create one with partners.

Independent Practice

  • Finally, students will perform their fan dance.
  • Option: Perform for another class.


At this time, students and teacher will gather back on the rug to discuss new concepts that were learned in the lesson. Teacher will dictate student responses onto chart paper.

Read our guide on Teaching Holidays in the Classroom.

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Assessment & Evaluation


  •  Teacher will assess students' ability to accurately follow the steps to creating the fan.

Performance Assessment

  • The dance will be used as a performance assessment. Did students stay on task and attempt to learn the steps? This provides students an opportunity to convey their understanding through gestures, sounds, and physical movement. This provides students with a deeper connection to the material.

Modification & Differentiation

Teaching about holidays can be fun and challenging at the same time. Learn more on how to teach students about holidays here.

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