Musical Fractions in our World
- having fun with fractions, measurement, and equivalency -
The garden hose plays fractions called the harmonic series.
Start with one large mixing bowl. Add Rigatoni pasta, sprinkler pipes, recycled juice bottles, empty soda cans, and one garden hose and funnel—set aside. Using a kitchen faucet, carefully pour in two FOSS units on Measurement and Solids/Liquids, a sprinkling of ancient Aztec rhythm fractions, and an equivalent amount of Mariachi seasoning. Pour the entire mixture onto some thoroughly kneaded California Content Standards on Mathematics, and bake in a large pie tin for 50 minutes. Top it off with generous amounts of humor, wacky activities, and interactive multimedia games—serve immediately. Makes enough to sustain a large group of students and parents during the long school year.
Enrich your students’ understanding of fractions, measurement, and equivalency with Phil’s fun-filled presentation on Musical Fractions in our World. Specifically, your students will learn:
• how they can hear instruments vibrate in a series of fractions called the harmonic series;
• how they can measure fractions of length and liquid volume to build simple musical instruments; and
• how they can play musical rhythms based on equivalent fractions.
- harmonic series -
Playing his garden hose, Phil demonstrates how instruments vibrate in wholes, halves, thirds, fourths, and fifths—fractions called the harmonic series. Next, the students make direct comparisons to other instruments as Phil plays the same fractions on Whirly-tubes, Sports Bottle Straws, Sprinkler Pipe Flutes, and PVC Bugles.
The guitar is based on fractions of length.
- length and liquid volume -
Taking it a step further, Phil explains how the students can build their own simple instruments by measuring fractions of length and liquid volume. Using standard and non-standard units, he shows the students how to measure and make Peruvian Panpipes, Musical Fraction Tubes, Tubular Glockenspiels and Water Bottle Xylophones. One of the presentation highlights is when four students and one teacher are featured on a variety of instruments to form a human xylophone!
- equivalency -
Finally, Phil uses popular fraction pies to show how musical note durations are based on fractions, e.g., a whole note equals a whole pie, and a half note equals a half pie, etc. He continues by showing students how musicians compose rhythms by adding and subtracting fractions into equivalent groups called measures. A highlight of this section is when Phil, using a kitchen faucet, leads the students in clapping an energetic sequence of musical fractions—from traditional Mariachi folk songs from Mexico, to popular selections by Los Lobos and Carlos Santana!
FAMILY ACTIVITY NIGHTS
Invite your families back to school for this fun-filled evening featuring hands-on instrument making, and music from the Aztec and Inca empires! Students learn how to count ancient Aztec rhythms using pie fractions, and design pan pipes with the fractions of length used by the Incas. Then they build their own pan pipes, soda can maracas, and straw oboes, and join together for a dynamic concert of exciting rhythms and melodies from Central and South America!
The following multimedia activities relate to this program:
|Aztec Drum Rhythms|
|Playing Fraction Pies|
|Melodic Tube Drums|
|Fractions of Length|
|Water Bottle Xylophone|
|Musical Fraction Tubes|
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