# Connexions

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# Math and Music for Special Education

Module by: Sherry Anderson. E-mail the author

Connexions

Music and Math

This lesson plan was written by Catherine Schmidt-Jones. It is Connexions module ML 1807 and can be found at http://cnx.org/content/ml1807/latest/ .

Topic Music and Math

The national standard for math is addressed in number sense; multiply and divide numbers (NS 7.1).

The objective of this lesson is to have students grasp key math concepts through music. Music is one area that can provide interesting, explorable, concrete examples of mathematical ideas. As a group, the students will identify the strong and weak beats and use a different clap for each. Students will count the number of beats and the number of strong beats. Then the students will construct true multiplication, division, and fraction statements using three numbers; the total number of beats, the total number of strong beats, and the number of beats per measure.

The lesson plan begins with playing a recording of a verse from a song. Have the students clap along on the beats. Repeat the song. This time ask them to clap louder on the stronger beats, and softly on other beats. The students should be able to reach a consensus in which they are steadily clapping together. Teacher explains that they are now clapping measures or bars as well as beats. Each loud clap starts a new beat. Ask students how many beats (claps) there are in every measure. Ask the students if they see how the three numbers are related. The teacher points out the basic multiplication and division statements involved or you can treat each measure as a whole divided into fractions. For example, “Frere Jaque” has eight measures of two beats, for sixteen beats in all. That’s 8x2=16 and 16/8=2, etc.

The independent practice begins with groups of three. One student counts beat (all claps), one student counts measures (only loud claps) and one student is the counter, they just count. The counters report their numbers. If they are incorrect, they need to try again with teacher helping them count. If they are correct, have the student write the number down on the board for all to see. Ask each group how many beats (claps) there are in every measure. Students write mathematical equations on board.

The evaluation will be in assessing the students’ ability to write or say correct math statements based on the musical examples.

The reinforcement students will have worksheets with song that are known to them.

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