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ERIC Number: EJ1035480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
Do You Hear What I Hear
Adams, Krista L.; Pedersen, Jon; Narboni, Nicole
Science and Children, v51 n6 p56-63 Feb 2014
Ask many elementary school teachers or principals, and they will say that science and music are not the top priority in their classrooms. Teachers need to know "how" they can incorporate the necessary mathematics and reading goals and objectives while still engaging students in the critical and aesthetic thinking developed through science and music. It was this concern that brought the authors--science educators and a music educator--together to develop a lesson to integrate their subjects for classroom instruction. A natural link between science and music--sound--also provided a nice backdrop to highlight students' backgrounds. To integrate science, music, and culture may seem complex. However, one way that this may be accomplished is through a systems approach to teaching. A systems approach allows for a single system to be more fully examined in isolation. "A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas" (NRC 2012) defines the "Systems and System Models" as a small group of related components that is isolated from the larger system. The focus of a systems approach is on the relationships and connections between the parts as applied to a specific context while moving away from focusing on the individual parts (Llewellyn and Johnson 2008). Taking a systems approach allows scientists and students to investigate a small portion of a concept to understand the forces acting on that system. The lesson described in this article demonstrates how sound waves can be seen as a subsystem of musical acoustics or the physics of music (Sullivan 2008). Within this system, sound waves are analyzed in terms of the pitch (high and low), loudness (loud or soft), and timbre (quality of sound). However, music is more than individual notes played in isolation. Music is organized notes in sequences that tell a story about the feelings and ideas the composer wants to invoke in the listener. It is this nature of music that makes it a cultural experience; each culture shares its own beliefs, ideas, and experiences through a variety of instruments and sounds. The objectives of the lesson described here are for fourth-grade students to learn about sound waves as created by a variety of musical instruments in order to develop a model of sound waves by recognizing the similarities and differences in patterns caused by a series of sounds. One of several goals is for students to develop a model of the relationship between loudness and pitch with respect to a stringed instrument (e.g., guitar) in order to apply this knowledge to building their own instrument. With regards to the National Standards for Music Education (MENC 1994), the teachers wanted their students to listen to, analyze, and describe music by identifying the properties of sounds created by a variety of instruments using appropriate terminology (i.e., "timbre" and "sound quality") in explaining the sounds heard as well as develop perceptual skills about music from various cultures. They also wanted to capitalize on the cultural diversity of students by highlighting each individual's unique experiences and knowledge of music. Building on the students' everyday context is important for providing a meaningful experience by celebrating the diversity among students in the classroom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A