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. 

Music

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:

Solfege

2nd Grade Lesson 11

Composition

1st Grade Lessons 19-20
Science-

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?

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