Math is not the favorite school subject of most children. In fact, many adults also find mathematics intimidating. That is why teachers are always keen on finding ways to encourage kids to appreciate and understand math. Teaching kids the fundamental basics is important. If kids have difficulty learning the concepts of basic math, they will likely face more serious mathematical challenges learning and appreciating algebra and calculus. Fortunately, there are many proven ways to explain complicated concepts, such as fractions, to children and a recent study in Educational Studies in Mathematics explains the research.
Using creative ways to explain math problems to children, researchers came up with a curriculum called Academic Music. This curriculum combines clapping, chanting, drumming and music notation to explain math concepts such as fractions to students. It should be noted, however, that the study was done in a small scope. There were only 67 students based in San Francisco area who participated with this study. The curriculum is very promising as it also promotes multiple forms of intelligence among children.
The Academic Music curriculum has been tested by a set of students for six weeks, and another set of students were taught using conventional methods. The students who underwent the Academic Music curriculum scored about 50 percent higher than those who experienced the traditional method of teaching. This makes Academic Music a potential solution for students who are struggling to understand mathematical principles.
Academic Music essentially helps children find ways to connect musical notes to their equivalent fraction size like half and eight notes. Drumming and clapping rhythms help students analyze the value of each musical note. Under the innovative and creative curriculum, students have the chance to learn how to add and subtract fractions as they complete work sheet distributed by teachers. On those worksheets that look like music sheets, they need to draw musical notes. They need to ensure that the notes add up to four beats on every given bar or measure.
An elementary based in the San Francisco Bay Area has been using this curriculum since 2006, and the principal has nothing but praises for the program. In one of the public interviews, the principal of the school claimed that it brings music inside the classroom. Students are also given the opportunity to learn without having to be too dependent on language. This is a big deal for the school since more than half of their students do not speak English. Many of their students are from low income families, so the school administration was faced with the challenge of finding creative ways in assisting the children to learn concepts effectively.
Music truly is a universal language and it is safe to say that everyone appreciates music in one form or another. It makes perfect sense to bring music into the classroom as a tool that facilitates learning math easy and fun for kids.