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Band Beats

Discover the world of instruments and the mathematics of music. Design labeled posters of various instruments.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research the four types of musical instruments. Have them identify several instruments of each type. Which ones are played in the orchestra? In a band?
    2. With a music teacher or someone who reads music, have students listen to simple, rhythmic music and follow along with its notation. How do musicians know the number of beats per measure? Identify treble and bass clefs. Create rhythms and count the beats. Have students clap, stamp their feet, march, or dance to the beat. Notice all the math that's embedded in music!
    3. Students choose an instrument to play, or would like to play. Research its materials, construction, and how it makes sounds.
    4. Students draw a large, colorful picture of the instrument on posterboard with Crayola® Metallic Colored Pencils and Crayola Washable Markers. Use a real instrument, or a detailed picture, for reference.
    5. Students label the parts of their instrument. Describe how it makes sounds. Embellish the drawing with musical symbols.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including social studies, science, and technical texts, at the appropriate grade level text complexity band.

    LA: Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Students research the history of band and orchestra instruments and choose a favorite to study in-depth. Students use Crayola ModelMagic to create a 3-D representation of their instruments. Students write summaries of their research and display them in the classroom with the 3-D models.

    Students research a well-known musician and the instrument(s) s/he plays. (Ex: Louis Armstrong) Organize research into an electronic presentation for classmates to view.

    Invite a local musician to speak to your class about life as a musician. Prior to the visit, have students write questions for the interview. Post interview, students will summarize their experience. At some point in the visit, have digital photographs of the musician taken with students.

    Encourage students to attend a concert. Set up a blog for students to post comments about their experience. Prior to allowing students to blog, review appropriate blog etiquette. Also encourage students to respond to other classmates' blog entries.

    Invite the school music teacher to visit with the class to discuss the mathematical aspects of music. If schedules do not coincide, investigate the possibility of Skyping with the music teacher. Students should compose questions prior to the interview and write a summary paragraph.


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