Skip to main content

How to use Music to Teach Math

What do math and music have in common? 
Numbers tell us a lot about music!


Math explains why notes sound higher than others, why instruments look the way they are, and why some sounds are more pleasing to the ear than others. Math and music are universal languages and use patterns to convey meaning!

On November 3rd, at this year’s Marion Cilker Conference at SJSU, RAFT’s Education Team’s Jeanne Lazzarini and Dianne Hurvitz co-presented “Harmonizing with STEAM Standards” on that very subject in front of enthusiastic SJSU students! Participants tackled a Design Challenge creating music collaboratively out of recycled materials and making connections with mathematics! This challenge also introduced other opportunities for cross-disciplinary STEAM lessons in literature, technology, engineering, and science!

How can you generate curiosity about music and math
  • Watch this fantastic YouTube video with your students: Landfill Harmonics
  • Make a musical instrument out of recycled materials in a design challenge!
    Then play a song, explain the different pitches and notes, and the math involved!
  • Compare different rhythms: The sound of waves crashing onto the shore; the sound of a heartbeat; the ticking of a clock; the blinking of a traffic light; the beat of a drum; and other examples of natural and manmade rhythms.
  • Investigate and compare: The pitch of matching notes in stringed instruments to that of wind instruments. Notice the longer the string (longer the tube), the lower the tone.
The participants teamed up to produce music on their instruments resulting in some remarkable harmonies with STEAM Standards! For more information on music and math connections, check out our RAFT tip sheet “Connecting Math and Music.” And check out this link for more about the 2017 Marion Cilker Conference!








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Putting the E in STEAM

By Amanda Amburgey M.A, Maker Science Teacher, Bulldog Tech 


What is going on in this classroom? There are kids everywhere excitedly making, testing, remaking, retesting, hot gluing, hammering, there is so much duct tape!  This is what engineering looks like in a middle school science class.   This is excited, meaningful learning.  How did I get to this place where I feel comfortable facilitating such an active engineering process with my classes?  As a science teacher I have had practice with hands on, inquiry based labs, technology and math makes their way into those labs easily.  But, engineering had me stumped.  How was I going to be an effective engineering teacher as required with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) when I knew so little about engineering?  
This is where RAFT and their STEM workshops really saved me and gave me the courage to start engineering projects.  I started with a somewhat common misconception of what engineers do.  I thought engineering was going…

CUSD Shares Possible STEAM Projects by Grade

Twelve STEAM Innovation Leaders from the Campbell Unified School District (CUSD) came to RAFT earlier this month to create new motivational activities for the start of the school year!  They met in grade-level teams with our RAFT Education staff to generate new ideas using RAFT materials that will motivate, challenge, and inspire their students. Each team was given a RAFT Makerspace-in-a-Box containing a wide variety of upcycled materials. They were asked to create a Design Challenge that directed students to solve the instructor’s challenge with the materials from the box. The Design Challenges addressed an engineering standard appropriate for each grade level and could include standards from other subjects. Here are some of their exciting back-to-school ideas:
************************************************************************************* Grades TK – 2 Engineering Standard: K-2-ETS1-1:  Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to chan…

The "RAFTy" Teacher Checklist - 5 Things to do to Prepare for Back to School