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Make a Musical Instrument

The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions

Lesson by Elizabeth Rexford
Lesson Updated Spring, 2001 by
Sandra Flowers and Elizabeth Rexford
Longfellow School, Oak Park, Illinois


Introduction | Content Areas | Standards | Implementation | Resources | Entry Skills | Evaluation | Variations | Conclusion
 

 

Introduction

This lesson was originally developed as part of the Illinois State Board of Education Learning Technology Center's Enternet '99 Project, coordinated by Area One Learning Technology Hub and has been further developed as part of the Illinois State Board of Education ILSI Knowledge Section, coordinated by Suburban Cook County Learning Technology Center.

By making a musical instrument and writing about it, students will be able to apply and demonstrate their knowledge about how sound is produced and how musical instruments are created.


 

Content Area and Grade Level

This lesson is anchored in fifth grade science and music.

 Curriculum Standards

STATE GOAL 3: Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.

C. Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
3.C.2a Write for a variety of purposes and for specified audiences in a variety of forms including narrative (e.g., fiction, autobiography), expository (e.g., reports, essays) and persuasive writings advertisements).

3.C.2b Produce and format compositions for specified audiences using available technology.

STATE GOAL 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems.

B. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of technological design.
11.B.2b Develop a plan, design and procedure to address the problem identifying constraints (e.g., time, materials, technology).

11.B.2c Build a prototype of the design using available tools and materials.

STATE GOAL 26: Through creating and performing, understand how works of art are produced.

A. Understand processes, traditional tools and modern technologies used in the arts.
26.A.2c Music: Classify musical sound sources into groups (e.g., instrumental families, vocal ranges, solo/ensembles).

Implementation Overview

This project is part of a multidisciplinary unit on sound. It will take an average of four weeks.

Process


Table of Goals/Benchmarks/Activities

English
Language Arts

Benchmarks

Activities

STATE GOAL 3: Write to communicate for a variety of purposes.

C. Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.

3.C.2a Write for a variety of purposes and for specified audiences in a variety of forms including narrative (e.g., fiction, autobiography), expository (e.g., reports, essays) and persuasive writings advertisements).

 

Students write a five paragraph expository essay that describes the process of making the instrument and the students' impressions of the project. The paragraph would include these items: problems faced and solutions, materials needed, procedure used to make the instrument, evaluation of the student's project.

3.C.2b Produce and format compositions for specified audiences using available technology.

Students use the computer to make a word-processing document which will be emailed to The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions.

Science

Benchmarks

Activities

STATE GOAL 11: Understand the processes of scientific inquiry and technological design to investigate questions, conduct experiments and solve problems.

B. Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of technological design.

11.B.2b Develop a plan, design and procedure to address the problem identifying constraints (e.g., time, materials, technology).

Students create a list or a graphic organizer which outlines a plan, design, and a procedure to make an original musical instrument, using recyclable materials.

Graphic Organizer

11.B.2c Build a prototype of the design using available tools and materials.

Students create a musical instrument, using recyclable materials.

Fine Arts

Benchmarks

Activities

STATE GOAL 26: Through creating and performing, understand how works of art are produced.

A. Understand processes, traditional tools and modern technologies used in the arts.

26.A.2c Music: Classify musical sound sources into groups (e.g., instrumental families, vocal ranges, solo/ensembles).

Student presents a demonstration of the instruments he or she has created, identifying the instrument family to which their instrument belongs, explaining how the sound is produced and demonstrating how the instrument is played.

 

Resources Needed

What's needed to implement this lesson:
  • Books about how to make simple musical instruments, such as:
    • Hewitt, Sally. Get set...Go! Bang and Rattle. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1994.

      Hewitt, Sally. Get set...Go! Pluck and Scrape. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1994.

      Hewitt, Sally. Get set... Go! Puff and Blow. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1994.

      Paker, Josephine. Flutes Have Holes and Other Questions About Music. New York: Kingfisher, 1995.

  • Books about sound, such as:
    • Broekel, Ray. A New True Book Sound Experiment. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1983.

      Gibson, Gray. Science For Fun Hearing Sounds. Brookfield, CT, : Copper Beech Books, 1995.

      Parsons, Alexandra. Make it Work! Sound. Chicago,: World Book Inc., 1997.

  • Books about musical instruments, such as:
  • The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions (Exhibits, Tips for Teachers, Links)
  • Work sheets for "hands-on" activities about sound.
  • Design sheet for students to use.

Human Resources:

The science and music teachers can work together to teach the unit on sound. The music teacher emphasizes the musical concepts of pitch, as it relates to frequency, and the science teacher reinforces concepts on how sound is produced.

A professional instrument maker can visit the students and discuss aspects of making instruments.


 

Entry Level Skills and Knowledge

Families of musical instruments: String( chordophones), Percussion (membranophones), and Winds (aerophones).


 

Evaluation

The lesson will be successful if students produce musical instruments which make sounds and if they write cohesive essays about the instrument.

Evaluation Rubric

Activities

Exceeds

Meets

Striving

Not yet

Students write a five paragraph expository essay that describes the process of making the instrument and the students' impressions of the project. The paragraph would include these items: problems faced and solutions, materials needed, procedure used to make the instrument, evaluation of the student's project.

Student writes five cohesive paragraphs, which include an introduction, body and conclusion.

Student writes five paragraphs, which include an introduction, body and conclusion.

Student organizes thoughts into paragraphs with errors in overall paragraph structure and final copy.

Student writes a expository essay which may be missing aspects of the introduction, body and or conclusion.

Each paragraph has a topic sentence with a variety of transitional words and a concluding statement.

Each paragraph has a topic sentence with transitional words and a concluding statement.

The essay contains no spelling or grammatical errors.

Spelling and grammar errors are minor and do not interfere with the intelligibility of the writing.

Spelling and grammatical errors interfere with the intelligibility of the writing.

Spelling and grammatical errors interfere with the intelligibility of the writing.

The essay maintains its focus, is well-organized, uses interesting details.

The essay maintains its focus, is well-organized, uses interesting details.

The essay may lack focus.

Has major errors in the organization of thoughts into correct paragraph structure and final copy. The essay lacks focus.

The essay cites references to outside materials.

The essay cites references to outside materials.

With teacher/peer support student is unable to produce a five paragraph expository essay.

With teacher/peer support student is unable to produce a five paragraph expository essay.

Students use the computer to make a word-processing document which will be emailed to The Virtual Museum of Music Inventions.

Students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document and will use spell check.

Students will add visual elements and/or links to the Internet.

Students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document and will use spell check.

With teacher support,students will open a word processing document, type the document, save it, edit the document, format the document and will use a spell checker.

The teacher formats and types parts of the student essay.

Students create a list or a graphic organizer which outlines a plan, design, and a procedure to make an original musical instrument, using recyclable materials.

Student creates a list or an organizer which lists all the materials used.

Student creates a list or an organizer which lists all the materials used.

Student creates a list of materials used which lacks one or two key items.

Student creates an incomplete list.

Student will list, in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Students explain where the materials may be found.

Student will list, in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Student omits one or two steps required to make the instrument.

Student is unable to list, in a logical sequence, the steps required to make the instrument.

Students create a musical instrument, using recyclable materials.

The musical instrument demonstrates changes of pitch and/or volume. It produces a sound which is distinctive and clearly heard.

The musical instrument demonstrates changes in pitch and/or volume. The instrument produces a clearly heard sound.

The musical instrument cannot demonstrate changes of pitch or volume. The instrument produces a sound which is weak and cannot be heard clearly.

The musical instrument does not produce any noticeable sound.

The instrument shows evidence of very careful craftsmanship with original design elements.

The instrument shows evidence of careful craftsmanship.

The instrument shows evidence of hasty construction and looks messy.

The instrument is incomplete and has no design elements.

Student presents a demonstration of the instrument(s) he/she has created, identifying the instrument family to which their instrument belongs, explaining how the sound is produced and demonstrating how the instrument is played.

The student explains how the instrument is made and can demonstrate how the instrument is made and how it produces sound.

The student correctly uses the terms "pitch", "volume", "resonance", and "tone quality".

The student explains how the instrument is made and can demonstrate how the instrument is made and how it produces sound.

The student correctly uses the terms "pitch", and "volume".

 With prompting, the student can answer questions about how the instrument is made and how it produces sound, correctly using the terms "pitch", and "volume".

With prompting, the student is unable to answer questions about how the instrument is made and how it produces sound, correctly using the terms "pitch", and "volume".

Possible Variations

Students can create their musical instruments in art class. The art teacher can discuss elements of design. Art materials will be readily available.

Making a musical instrument could be a family project. Students can describe the part each family member had in making the musical instrument.

Conclusion

By making a musical instrument and writing about it, students demonstrate their knowledge of sound, as well as involving themselves in the creative process of experimenting and applying their ideas.

Last updated June, 2001 by Sandra Flowers and Elizabeth Rexford
Based on a template from
The WebQuest Page