Thursday, January 3, 2013

Rhythm and Fractions

Rhythm Pie

Reflecting on a couple of quotes in  previous posts prompts me to reshare them and write a bit about Rhythm Pie. Quote:

“The best way to learn is through the powerful force of rhythm.“
        - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

“Second and third grade students who were taught fractions through musical rhythms scored one hundred (100) percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.”
   - Rhythm Students Learn Fractions More Easily, Neurological Research

I have had great success both in my music classes and math classes (I've taught both) by integrating pie fractions (math) with rhythm. Basically, I divide a circle ('pie') into fractions of 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16 and put a note/symbol so named on each corresponding piece. This helps students understand where the notes get their names and gives me an opportunity to clarify that a half note does not sound for 1/2 beat, but for half of a four-beat measure. This method also helps students visualize parts and wholes as they relate to math AND music. The extension of composing rhythms solidifies the concepts.

I have received several emails this past month from teachers who attended a workshop where I shared my RHYTHM PIE lesson ideas, and they've reported great success in teaching the concepts and engaging their students in meaningful and enjoyable lessons. Teachers can easily adopt / adapt this idea themselves... or save themselves prep time, trial and error by purchasing my nifty set of ready-to-go lesson plans and high quality printables (7 pages) here:

P.S. A great online resource and reinforcement for this type of activity can be found here:   Phil and his son do an amazing job with music and technology. Have you checked his site out?

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