There are few things that pique students’ interest and passion like music. Create harmony in your classroom and teach STEM through music!
Connecting STEM and the arts is an increasingly popular method of teaching as the STEAM movement gains momentum. It’s easy to recognize the benefits students will enjoy when educators teach STEM through music. After examining the required curriculum for the year, incorporate music into lesson plans to engage more students and expand their STEM repertoire.
1. The Rhythm is Gonna Get STEM
By teaching students the basics of rhythm, time signature, and meter, educators can also teach STEM through music by focusing on these math concepts. While observing musical beat, teachers can integrate meters of two through eight during elementary-level lessons. After mastering the basics of meter, students can explore the relationship between meter and time signature. Once students have gained an understanding regarding how these concepts work within one piece of music, introduce additional selections and ask students to explain the mathematical differences between the meter and time signatures for each.
2. Instrumental to Physics
To blend music with a physics lesson, asks students to make a simple six-hole flute, such as those used to play “Do-Re-Mi.” Using PVC pipe and cork, students can use math to calculate the distance between the flute’s holes, as explained by Michigan Technological University. During this project, students will also examine the physics involved in the relationship between creating wavelength through the hole size and the sound produced. Bucknell University assistant physics and astronomy professor Deepak Iyer offers images with his guide to making this type of flute for physics education. In the interest of safety, have students mark the areas where they would like flute holes to appear before you use a drill to create the holes for them.
3. Get in Tune with STEM
Speaking of physics in music, the more opportunities for incorporating project-based learning to teach STEM through music, the more exposure students will have to key concepts. Student minds are extremely receptive to tactile, hands-on activities. Many projects are able to transcend differences in student aptitude in a subject, providing opportunities for most children to grasp concepts more easily than they would from only copying notes or reading. Illustrate concepts of sound waves through listening exercises and vibration observation, as outlined by Discovery Education. By observing the phenomenon of sound waves that occur under different conditions, students will firmly grasp this musical STEM concept.
4. Make a Music Memory
When thinking about how to teach STEM through music, don’t over complicate the process. Create songs that incorporate vocabulary terms that are integral to each STEM subject. While composing your song, keep in mind amplitude and frequency – the size and speed of vibration. Incorporate these concepts into the song by singing the lyrics regarding amplitude at a higher volume and those explaining frequency, or pitch, using different notes. By introducing vocabulary through a catchy melody with relevant lyrics, teachers can effectively help students commit terms to memory. Most students will likely be able to sing these songs on cue 10, 15, or 20 years after class ends, making you a lyrical STEM legend.
Not only is music education fun, but studies have shown increased academic success among children who are involved in music programs. By exploring how to teach STEM through music, teachers can encourage students to pursue this art form using a more STEAM-oriented approach.