June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.1713.1 - 26.1713.16
WAVES: An Integrated STEM and Music Program for Fifth Grade Students (RTP, Strand 2)Fifth grade academic standards for music in a Midwestern state call for an understandingof the “relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts,”specifically citing examples in mathematics. Neither the standards for mathematics norscience (the state does not have fifth grade engineering standards), however, requiremaking connections between these disciplines and the arts. The WAVES project(Wonder, Arts, Vibration, Engineering, Science), based at a research university in thisstate, seeks to promote a better appreciation and understand of both the STEM disciplinesand the Arts through their integration. Specifically, through an event centered upon amusical performance by an acclaimed percussion ensemble that is artist-in-residence atthe university, WAVES demonstrates how experimentation and analysis—typicallyassociated with the sciences—and creative design—typically associated with the arts—figure strongly in both domains.The WAVES program was offered as a half-day event during the spring of 2014 attendedby over 350 fifth graders from 3 local schools and comprised three main activities: (1)museum-style exhibits and demonstrations in the engineering building, (2) small groupsessions facilitated by undergraduates with discussion and hand-on activities, (3) aconcert where all 350 fifth graders accompanied the artists-in-residence on custominstruments designed and built by undergraduates for the performance of a classicalmusic work composed by the artists-in-residence specifically for this educational event.Two undergraduate classes, offered during the semester prior to the WAVES event, werecritical to its design and implementation. A one-credit, pass/fail course withapproximately 40 students from a wide variety of majors focused on the design andconstruction of the musical instruments. Students in this class were also required todevelop lesson plans for the small group sessions. Students in a senior-level ElectricalEngineering audio technology course developed, together with the faculty member, aseries of demonstrations for the museum-like portion of the event. A speaker sloweddown to oscillate at 1-10 Hz appeared to “breath inaudibly at 1 to 10 times per second”,becoming audible only when increased to frequencies ≥ 50 Hz that are “too fast to see”but for which students could directly feel the air pressure of the sound waves created.Another demonstration used an oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer to help studentsvisualize the musical concepts of loudness, pitch, and timbre. Students were engagedlistening to and looking at waveforms and spectra of the “same note” played in a varietyof synthesized instrument voices (piano, flute, etc.) while being invited to identify them.The final presentation and paper will provide complete details on the design andimplementation of the WAVES event as well as an assessment of its outcomes. A keycomponent of the assessment methodology was a series of over 50 interviews of parents,students, administrators, and other stakeholders, conducted by a team of undergraduatesusing an approach based on the NSF I-Corps program. Since its initial offering at theuniversity, the WAVES program has also been performed with a mixed-age audience at ascience museum in another state and continues to receive bookings.
Brockman, J. B., & Hall, D. C., & Martin, S. P., & Phillips, L. A. (2015, June), WAVES: An Integrated STEM and Music Program for Fifth Grade Students (RTP, Strand 2) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25049
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