0 + 0 is 0! Oh! 1 + 1 is 2! Oooh! 2 + 2 is 4! More!

In this Math & Music (percussion) residency for first grade, students have been exploring mathematical concepts through music-making. Since September, we explored 2 units; Operations & Algebraic Thinking as well as Numbers and Operations in Base Ten as well as gaining musical, artistic and social-emotional skills.

For the unit on Operations and Algebraic Thinking, students focused on building “sonic models” to hear and visualize their mathematical sentences. Students used musical pictures such as quarter notes and eight notes to transform mathematical sentences into short musical compositions. Through this fun musical activities, students have been able to connect with math in a more organic way and thus fall in love with it!

To quote one student, Aaron Z: “ I love making music with math because I get to learn and have fun with drums!”

Students have also been hard at work increasing their music literacy skills by composing music and writing it down so that they can all read and perform each other’ work. The students also drew similarities between the patterns of notes in a composition and the patters in operations such as Doubles Fact. They proudly composed a Rap to help them remember their doubles fact! 0 + 0 is 0! Oh!!!, 1 + 1 is 2, OOO! 2 + 2 is 4, More! 3 + 3 is 6, kicks! 4 + 4 is 8, that’s great! 5 + 5 is 10, Again!, etc! They then play the song along with different percussion instruments!

In addition to learning mathematical concepts, students have been learning musical and percussive skills such as correct technique, listening skills, call and response, following a steady beat, playing with different dynamics (different volumes) leading and following , playing polyrhythms together (different groups of students play different beats at the same time) as well as reading, writing and listening to beats created by the students.

Students have also been exploring ways of develop their social emotional intelligences by using nice words to communicate with each other, giving each other “put ups instead of put downs” when they give each other feedback, as well as developing their leadership skills.

For this residency, all the First Grade teachers and the Teaching Artist meet as a team and co-plan the lessons every week for 45 minutes. During our meeting, we develop lessons that are based on the curriculum map that the First Grade follows, using examples that come directly from their Go Math 1 book. We also talk about what worked and what didn’t. The Co-teachers at the Rosa Parks School are extremely involved with all aspects of the lesson planning and implementation of the lessons. We all split the teaching responsibilities and we all model the activities for the students.

– Martin Urbach, Teaching Artist