Arts integration is the best form of differentiation out there. It connects to the many and varied interests of students, inherently differentiations to student’s abilities and understandings, and caters to the cultural ways of knowing that multicultural societies need to address, for a socially just education system. Integrating Stem subjects with the Creative Arts also provides opportunities to empower students’ different ways of knowing in accordance to Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Below are a few ideas on how you can integrate Math and Music in primary education.
Number sequences – year 1
Begin the task with students’ counting out loud from 1 to 20 in unison (i.e. at the same time). Next, ask students to repeat the step, but this time, they must clap on every second count (e.g. on the even numbers from 1 – 20). Once students are confident clapping on the even numbers between 1 and 20, repeat the step, but this time, ask students to stomp on the multiples of 5.
Divide the class into two even halves, one group will count from 1 to 20 while clapping on the 2s. The second group will count from 1 to 20, while stomping on the multiples of 5. Switch roles between groups and repeat the step. Next, ask students to internalise the counts and just perform the body percussion.
Extension: a third part could be added to the performance, with students adding a different body percussion sound on multiples of 10.
Name and order months and seasons – year 2
Describe duration to students using the months of the year. Encourage students to contribute in the discussion by sharing their unique understanding of the topic with the class.
Questions could include, Name the months of the year? Organise the months into seasons? Draw or write out some of the distinguishing features that help us define each of the seasons. For example, in the United States there is snow in winter and its very cold; while summer is hot and dry depending on where you are located in the country.
Next, display and discuss the features of a graphic music score. For example, the timeline, how to understand the symbols, and the importance of using a stopwatch or conductor to structure and time the performance.
Organise students into groups of 4-6, hand out blank A3 paper, and ask each group to compose, notate and perform their graphic scores, on the seasons, to the class. Students can perform the work using body percussion, and/or vocal sounds, and/or tuned and untuned percussion instruments.
Click for graphic score example.
Fractions – year 2
Teach students Fractions Rap using echo technique, then perform activity as described below.
Fractions Rap by Gavin Beck
When we share,
Lets make it fair.
Equal parts of a whole.
Fractions are what we’re talking about,
Let’s move and shout one out.
Movement activity: After the chant has been sung together as a class, students’ echo teacher calling out ONE of the fractions displayed above. Students then quickly moving around the room, as a class, to demonstrate the fraction being called out.
An opportunity to discuss fractions can occur when explicit fractions cannot be formed in the movement step of the task. For example, a class of 11 students cannot represent a “half”.
Extension: Students can create a unique body shape when representing the fraction during the performance of the work.