Reflection: Intervention and Extension Musical Fractions- An Introduction - Section 4: Listen, Look and Apply


Enrichment isn't always a planned or a prolonged classroom experience.  Sometimes it just happens, and the way I keep myself prepared for these opportunities is to make sure I have a solid understanding of my planned objective.  

In this lesson, I wanted students to see that basic musical phrases in 4/4 time contain whole notes (4/4 = 1), half notes (2/4 = 1/2) and quarter notes (1/4).  After my students spontaneously burst into song in English, and I recorded them, I played it one more time to start the math component of the lesson and this time they burst into song in Spanish.  It was an instant, unanticipated, rich, and funny chance to extend their thinking. 

In English, they were singing the phrase "Charley wants a shoe" in the first two measures exactly the way it was written, 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 + 4/4.  Well, "Charley quiere un zapato" has a bunch of extra beats.  "Quiere" (2 syllables) was easily substituted for "wants" by singing it as 1/8 + 1/8, which I wrote out for them and we clapped it as well.  "Zapato" in the place of a whole note (4/4) was much trickier.  We (the class and I) decided to go with 1/8 +1/8 + 1/8, with the last 1/8 tied into the remaining 5/8 in the measure.  I wrote this out for them in fraction form and also showed them how the word "zapato" came in on the 1/2 beat prior to where we sang shoe and carried over to 1 1/2 beats.  I showed with pictures and we clapped it.  All of this took us about 5 minutes, and I used the very subjective measure of the degree to which their faces lit up to determine that for many of them this was a meaningful extension.

Here they are singing in Spanish.  Note:  later on, I did get them on key, but I didn't want to get too far off track.  

  Intervention and Extension: Expect the Unexpected
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Musical Fractions- An Introduction

Unit 16: Musical Fractions
Lesson 1 of 5

Objective: SWBAT write fraction equations to represent the measures in a very simple musical score.

Big Idea: Students use math, music and technology in this engaging lesson on fractions!

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