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Singin' About Solutions

How in this media rich era can we use students’ creative energy to develop original songs and visual posters that capture people’s attention? How can music and posters launch a program and help others understand an innovative solution?

  • Grades 7 and 8
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Play several songs about the environment, sustainability, and social responsibility such as “Good Garbage” by John Forster and Tom Chapin or “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. Ask students how music and posters inform and engage people in various social causes. Introduce the ColorCycle program. How could students use music and posters that they create to engage other students in the ColorCycle program?
    2. Have students explore how different songs or lyrical campaigns communicate with both content and tone. As they plan their music, lyrics and posters, what overarching message do they want to communicate, what tone will be motivating, how will a catchy tune and associated poster make the message more memorable? What facts and information should be communicated in the song? What visuals would help deliver the message? How might the songs and posters be used to launch the school’s ColorCycle program, keep the momentum going, and spread the initiative to other schools?
    3. Divide students into small groups of 4-6 to research various environment songs. Their assignment is to create an aligned visual and music campaign to encourage participation in the ColorCycle program. They may want to think of a familiar song and write new lyrics for it or they could generate an entirely new tune. What is a strong title for the song?
    4. Discuss the power of visuals to communicate. What visual symbols are informative and persuasive? How will they visually communicate the messages in a poster? For example, if the song deals with several types of pollution the visual could identify some of the pollution issues.
    5. End the lesson with a Song Fest! Work with others in the school to select which song becomes adopted to launch the ColorCycle initiative school-wide.
  • Standards

    LA: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

    LA: Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

    LA: Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.

    MATH: Understand that statistics can be used to gain information about a population by examining a sample of the population; generalizations about a population from a sample are valid only if the sample is representative of that population. Understand that random sampling tends to produce representative samples and support valid inferences.

    MATH: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.

    SCI: Design engineering solutions for stabilizing changes to communities by: (1) using water efficiently, (2) minimizing human impacts on environments and local landscapes by reducing pollution, and (3) reducing the release of greenhouse gases.

    SCI: Ask questions to refine and develop an explanation for the way technological monitoring of Earth’s systems can provide the means of informing the public of ways to modify human impacts on Earth’s systems.

    SCI: Use empirical evidence to evaluate technologies that utilize renewable energy resources.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    SS: Explain how public policies and citizen behaviors may or may not reflect the states ideals of a democratic republican form of government.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.

  • Adaptations

    Take your show on the road! Perform “Singin’ About Solutions” songs for other classes. Add musical instruments. Create a chorus for an audience sing-along. Create dances to go with the songs.


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