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Music and Math together?? YES! Bringing the Fun Back to Math!

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Keywords: Flip Video, Math, Song
Subject(s): Video, Technology, Music, Photography, Math
Grades 3 through 5
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Fields Store Elementary, Waller, TX
Planned By: Todd Nesloney
Original Author: Todd Nesloney, Waller
Mathematics is one of those subjects, where the lessons and teaching can become very tedious. As a Math teacher I am continually looking for fun and innovative ways to teach math to my students. One way I have found is teaching some of the more difficult math concepts through song. On average, we learn about 5 songs a school year. After learning the songs, the students can then use a flip-video camera (borrowed from another campus) to bring the songs to another level.

Paper-Slide Videos
Students memorize and learn the lyrics to a song. Students are then split into groups of 3-4 and are given about 5-10 lines of lyrics from the song. Students work with their group members to create “slides” on paper that represent the lyrics in the songs. After the students have created their “slides”, a flip-video camera is set up on a camera stand and the students cue the music, and as the music plays and their lyrics are being sung, the students slide the pieces of paper under the camera. It’s kind of like doing a PowerPoint without a computer. The kids have to be on time with the music, as well as have “slides” that actually represent the lyrics they were given to make sure the entire video makes sense. It is quite the interesting show, as a teacher, to watch it all unfold. This project is completely student lead. The students pick their lyrics, the students create their slides, and the students run the cd player and the flip-video camera. After the videos have been made we upload the videos to our school website. Since no students faces are ever shown, no permission slips have to be signed to show it on the web.

Music Videos
The music videos are very similar to the paper slide video. We always do the paper slide video first. After each class has created their own paper slide video, the students stay in their same groups, and use their same song and lyrics. Now instead of creating on paper what they want to show before the camera, the students actually have to “act” out their part. As the music plays, the flip-camera is again set up on a tri-pod. As the students lyrics play out the students run in front of the camera and act out their part, and run off, as the next group runs on. It’s a “one-take” shot. The students practice and practice while the teacher gives pointers on how to make it better. The students had so much fun with this activity and we have used it several times with several different songs for different subjects.

These activities help the songs and lyrics stick in the students heads for life. The songs play in the background the whole time the students are creating. Math is a subject that can sometimes become tedious, but with activities like this it’s easy to bring the fun back into the math classroom.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson can be used for any subject that teaches through song. The students pick up on this lesson very easily.
After we completed the videos, each class viewed the other classes, and went online to comment on the videos. The class who created the best video also had their video aired on our TV system for the whole school to watch.
Materials: Flip Video, Tripods