Friday, May 28, 2010

Bringing Music into Science

Today I began one of my favorite lessons which I just started last year. Since we are headed into the end of the year and we have completed all of our Science lessons, I now have my students write and produce their very own Science Song. The only requirements - they must have three verses and have the chorus repeated at least twice.  Oh and of course it HAS TO TEACH A CONCEPT.  :-)

Last year I had kids do songs on the layers of the Earth, the ecosystem, and my personal favorite translucent, transparent and opaque. (Best part about the last song is they recorded their whole song mispronouncing just added to the character of their song!)

The students write their own lyrics using their Science book as a guide in groups of two. Each group needs to chose their own Science concept as I don't allow them to repeat. Once they have finished writing their song, they create their music and melody in Garageband (however, you could download the program called Audacity for free online or use Acid Xpress 7). Once they have their music created I send them into the "Recording Studio". 

The "Recording Studio" all set-up. 
Now this is the fun part - I turn my closet into the recording studio. Now....I know what you are thinking. Students a closet.  Yes. BUT I set-up a camera which is linked to my desktop so I can see them in real time.  Works perfectly and I haven't had a problem.  In the closet is a laptop with their music, headphones so they can hear their music while singing and my RockBand microphone stand and mic which is connected to the laptop to record their singing. I have even rigged a light outside that has red paper strategically placed over it near the top of the door for them to switch on so the rest of the class knows when recording is going on. 
The red recording light outside the door.

The kids absolutely adore this lesson and it gives them an opportunity to share what they have learned. As a gift, I record all the songs onto a CD and give it to the kids at the end of the year. 

If interested in checking out last year's creations you can visit my wiki at Science Songs:

You can also download the lesson plan and forms I created here:

Let me know any comments or suggestions you have. :)


  1. Just came over to your blog from PT. Love this lesson. It is too cute!! What a great way to end the year.

  2. I love the ownership your kids have over their work! They did a great job, particularly crafting lyrics about the content that were not just fluff. Excellent!

    In the past, my class recorded some math strategy songs using karaoke MP3s. (I have some questions about the legality of it, since I distribute copies on CD and post the MP3s to our class blog, but what heartless person wants to sue a bunch of 4th graders singing about inverse operations?) It actually started as an unorthodox remediation attempt just prior to state testing; I had two boys that were very musically-oriented, and could remember the lyrics to every top 40 hit, but blocked out at least 50% of my math instruction. They were also very sensitive to being singled out for extra help, naturally. Anyway, one of them would sing "Just Dance" (Lady Gaga) ad nauseum, so I decided the class would collectively write a song about choosing mathematical operations to use for a word problem to that melody. I figured it might be fun, and it would not put any undue attention on the two target boys. We recorded it on our sole classroom computer -- a desktop -- using garageband. The kids loved it so much that they requested we write more songs about other math strategies. I do think that writing the lyrics helped them clarify their own thinking about word problems in math.

    Also: the Just Dance boy did not outright fail the state test! I heard him singing that "Just Choose (an operation)" song over and over again as he trudged his way through the math sessions. If nothing else, it forced him to think about dissecting the problem, not just 'collecting up the numbers and adding,' which was his initial strategy.

    Do you assess them on this project at all? I used a short rubric last year, but it was imperfect. I'm happy to share what I do have.



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