Fifth grade dove right into the “why” behind transforming sound into pictures and pictures into sound, and they used their existing musical background knowledge (and CAPE experience from last year) to begin by adding musical terms to sounds they were brainstorming. We then moved into composing using graphic notation.
Students took their graphic score and composition knowledge into the science classroom to explore the solar system through music, and ultimately to create their own compositions, linking music and science concepts.
Student #1First, we experimented with direct vs indirect sun rays/sound waves. Students had to create and play their own short rhythmic compositions to demonstrate a season, showing the heat and direct/indirect rays with the dynamic of their instrument, and whether we in Chicago would therefore be hot or cold.
Student #2Then we explored the orbits of the planets of our solar system and the length of their years by rotating the sun in different time signatures. This video shows students representing different planets. The beat is the sun, and you can see the students closest to the sun representing Mercury, and then the students out from there representing Venus, etc, all the way out to Neptune. Mercury moved in 2/4 time (stepping forward every two meets) while Neptune was in 9/4 time (only stepping every 9 beats). Near the end of the video the students and Ms. Spicer discuss the relationship. http://youtu.be/KV8MPtZAHrg
Student #3Finally, students completed and performed a musical "commercial" for their planet. They finished work on and performed their compositions, along with narration, in the music classroom. [video width="216" height="160" m4v="http://www.portfoliodesignproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Mercury_Composition.m4v"][/video]
By the end of the residency the students appeared to be accustomed to the concept of using pictures to represent sound and sounds being represented by pictures. Their next project will build on using these skills to bring a story to life. The students then created a sound track and used drama tableaus to reenact the story of Wiley and the Hairy Man. The students were divided into learning groups with each group being assigned a short paragraph from the story. The groups decided on the tableaus and sounds to emphasize during the narration of the story. They performed their final project for the second grade classroom. Knowing that they would be having a final performance for a younger class really helped to motivate the students to stay on task.