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Music and Mathematics

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  1. Music and Mathematics Christina Lloyd Mathematics Specialization

  2. Introduction • Research Question: Will teaching a mathematics unit through music increase first graders’ understanding of that mathematical content over time?

  3. Literature Review • Music is mathematics • Music is comprised of mathematical relationships (Southgate and Roscigno, 2009) • Music naturally lends itself to incorporating and teaching mathematical concepts (Johnson & Edelson, 2003; Geist & Geist, 2008) • Musical mnemonics • Help students memorize information (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990) • Works through rehearsal of material (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990)

  4. Methodology • Setting: • Kindergarten/First grade multi-aged classroom in a Stafford County public school • Participants: • Only first graders were assessed during this study • 9 first graders from my K/1 classroom (experimental group) • 7 first graders from a different K/1 classroom (control group) • Duration: • Two week measurement unit • Tested after the unit, and again two and four weeks after the unit • Coins were taught and practiced throughout my student teaching experience

  5. Procedure • Supplemental Musical Activities • Music is mathematics • A mountain dulcimer was used to teach the mathematical concept of length • Musical mnemonics • Recognition of coins and their value, a concept taught in mathematics, will be taught through a song

  6. Assessment • Students were assessed one-on-one with the researcher • Assessments took place after the measurement unit, and again two and four weeks after the unit ended • Students were asked to: • List tools and strategies we can use to measure things • What measurement is (definition) • Identify coins • Identify values of coins • List how students learned about the coins

  7. Results • Music is Mathematics • Students in the experimental group had a broader definition of measurement than the control group • Students in the experimental group also had more measurement strategies, on average, than the control group

  8. Results • Musical Mnemonic • Many students could already successfully identify the various coins and their values • Students who initially struggled with identifying coin names and values were very successful once they used the coin song Percentage Correct on Coin Identification and Value Assessment

  9. Implications • Music is a tool which can be used to broader understanding of underlying mathematical content • Music as a memory tool can help struggling students master mathematical concepts which must be memorized • I would use this in my own classroom to enhance mathematics activities, and to engage students

  10. References Armistead, M. (2007). Kaleidoscope: How a creative arts enrichment program prepares children for kindergarten. Young Children, 62, 86-93. Geist, E. A., Geist, K. (2008). Using music to support emergent mathematics. Young Children, 63, 20-25. Johnson, G. L., Edelson, R. J. (2003). Integrating music and mathematics in the elementary classroom. Teaching Children Mathematics, 9, 474-479. Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A. (1990). The case for mnemonic instruction: From laboratory research to classroom applications. The Journal of Special Education, 24, 7-29. Southgate, D. E., & Roscigno, V. J. (2009). The impact of music on childhood and adolescent achievement. Social Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited), 90, 4-21. Questions?