Data Driven Projects- Science and Music

So I have decided to put together a project for your reading pleasure today. This stems from my experience in the classroom working with others to build projects that were data driven and cross curricular, in order to show student improvement in certain areas while intertwining music with other subjects. This project brings together Science and Music using the Makey Makey invention kit. I actually had a Quaver teacher I visited about a month ago that was using the Makey Makey’s in her classroom for a large project and this inspired this post.

    Projects like this are always a big help when showing administration why the arts need to stay put in schools. Most cannot understand through a performance or visiting your classroom. Giving them solid data showing student growth might not be the ideal situation for most arts teachers, but it can be such a big help in defending the arts in schools. If you can relate it to other subjects such as science or geography, it adds more depth and meaning to the work and proves that music and the other arts provides students with real life skills that are crucial to their growth. 

So in order to start a project such as this you always need to come up with a way of assessment, I usually go with a little mix to get different data. One method includes a pre/post test so in order to acquire real data you would need to give the pre test before learning begins.

The overall goal of this project is to have students learn what electrical conductors and insulators are and how to build a closed circuit while discovering how to build an instrument using the Makey Makey and composing a composition and labeling with solfege to play on their new instrument which has 5 pitches (Do-So) to choose from. 


Quaver lessons- Some recommended lessons to go along with this project are below. Since solfege and composition are the heart of this project. Using some lessons from Quaver like the ones I’ve set as examples below will be a great start to teaching the concepts:


2nd Grade Lesson 11


1st Grade Lessons 19-20

Partner up with a general classroom teacher or science teacher in your building to teach about the

  • Scientific Process
  • Electrical Conductors and Insulators

Make sure you have a few sets of MakeyMakeys

Here is how it would go when you are ready for the project:

  • Students come up with a hypothesis on what materials available will hold a current to create sound with the MakeyMakey.
  • They will test and will design a Makey Makey instrument out of those materials.
  • They will compose a piece for their instrument using Do-So in either graphic or traditional notation.
  • Each student must create and perform their own composition.

Data- There would be two ways I would collect data.

Pre/Post Test: I would keep it very simple with maybe 5 questions like the ones below and give it before the learning begins and after the project has been completed to get accurate results and compare the results after.

1.) What is an electrical conductor?

2.) What is an electrical insulator?

3.) Do all substances conduct electricity?   Yes? / No?

4.) Why is the wiring in the Makey Makey made from copper?

5.) What is a closed circuit?

I create a rubric in order to assess the compositions the students would create to play on their new instruments making it easy to grade:

1 2 3 4
Uses variety of notes and correct Solfege The student can compose a piece using the full range of solfege available and correct notation with no assistance from the teacher. The student can compose a piece using the full range of solfege available and correct notation with little assistance from the teacher The student can compose a piece using the full range of solfege available and correct notation with a lot assistance from the teacher The student cannot compose a piece using the full range of solfege available and correct notation with assistance from the teacher
Melodic Contour The student can compose a piece using a smooth melodic contour with no assistance from the teacher. The student can compose a piece using a smooth melodic contour with little assistance from the teacher. The student can compose a piece using a smooth melodic contour with a lot of assistance from the teacher. The student cannot compose a piece using a smooth melodic contour with assistance from the teacher.
Performance The student can perform 90-100% of the notes accurately. The student can perform 75-89% of the notes accurately. The student can perform 60-74% of the notes accurately The student can perform less than 50% of the notes accurately.

What kinds of cross curricular projects have you done in you class?


Mused Motivation Day

Are you ready for some Musedmot Mischief?


Musedmot is coming up quick!  A professional development opportunity built by a music teacher for music teachers. I wanted more from my professional development and wanted to do it for free, so what happen? Music Ed Motivation Day did thats what! 

We congregate on Twitter and talk all morning and into part of the afternoon about various topics using the #musedmot hashtag. Sprinkled in-between are brand new Skype chats that will be recorded and archived on a YouTube feed. Almost a year has almost come and gone completely. Can you believe it? I haven’t been sick once this year either! Let’s hope this Musedmot doesn’t finally tackle me.

As in the tradition, I’ve made changes to try to make the event better. I want you to participate, talk, and have some fun too. There are no right or wrong answers, just creative ideas! Cut out the lurking in the shadows and come join us! Skype sessions are brand new, come Skype with your internet colleagues.

On the fence? think you’re not techie enough to keep up? You’ve got help! On our website there is a Registration page where you can sign up for the Skype sessions and put your Twitter handle in there so I can find you and help you get in on the action! 1 on 1 tech support just cannot be beat!

Some things you should know:

  1. The big event starts at 10am est on Saturday June 20th!
  2. Let’s start filling up the schedule with topics. Comment, tweet, FB me your suggestions. This year’s theme is Making Mischief
  4. I always am looking for corporate sponsors. We can work out anything from advertising to giveaways to even letting a rep from the company come in and talk to our participants about their product.
  5. This is a come and go as you please event, you are more than welcome to come in and out during the day.

         Want to know more? Check out our website: 

Those Who Are Creative, Never Say Impossible

     Continuing in the spirit of making mischief and being innovative, I’m reviving a post from a few months ago. Having the latest and greatest technology in your classroom might be great, but what happens for those who can’t get it? Should that inhibit what you can do? What are you teaching your students by saying “We could have done this if we had better tools.” It’s ok to take what you have and explore every single little angle you can use it. Take an old computer speaker and rewire it to use with your iPod, turn your mobile device into an interactive slate for your board through a remote desktop app, even turn your whiteboard into an interactive white board using a Wii Remote. Show your students that it doesn’t matter what you have, its how you use it that is important.

I couldn’t have lived without my technology in the room and its becoming a staple in every classroom, that is why I’m so surprised when someone tells me they DO NOT have some sort of technology in their teaching space. I ask why and I get answers like “there’s not enough money” or “they don’t think there’s space in my room” or even “they don’t think I’d use it”. Well phooey, time to give up right? WRONG! It’s time to get creative.

Look! I made an iPhone/iPod projector for 5 bucks just to prove a point for this blog post! (and it WORKS!)


 Check out how to make this at this website

   There are so many ideas for low cost classroom technology alternatives out there on the web that the excuse “I just don’t have it” is really not an excuse to me anymore. Tell me you don’t have a projector I will MAKE you one right there on the spot. Once you get creative with these low cost alternatives the last objection “they don’t think I’ll use it” flies right out the window! Sometimes, you just have to go a little further to prove to your tech department and administrators that you too can use technology successfully and creatively in your music classroom.

  No speaker system? Have a glass handy?


Or if you have a second you can throw together this puppy with a cardboard tube and two solo cups


      If you’re really ready for a challenge and itching for a smart board, try using a Wii remote control: 

        Those excuses people give me for not having technology in their classroom? Yeah, I’ll make you a projector or set of speakers out of things on your desk and recycling bin, I know you’ve got an iPod or smartphone handy everybody does. There are so many of these awesome hacks online in places like Pinterest .

     So remember, technology doesn’t have to be a fancy state of the art projector or a 1,000 dollar speaker system. If you’ve got 5 minutes and the right stuff sitting in your room or house, the possibilities become amazing.


What mischief have you gotten into this week?