Music + STEM = ?


Just what IS Music + STEM?    11802694_10152962703140919_4614138183162647576_o

Most of us know what to expect in a music class, but what happens when you add Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (and possibly more)?  It’s not an easy question to answer but here’s a snapshot of some of what will be happening in our classroom this year…

The goals of Music+STEM are:

  • Engage students in social music making and equip them with skills so they may continue throughout their lives
  • Reveal to and engage students in the ways in which music is part of our lives and society
  • Engage students in the practice of the scientific process, critical thinking skills, and 21st century skills
  • Instill in students the importance of reflection in the learning process – “Fail To Learn”

What will this look like in the classroom?

Monday & Tuesday…..WE Time      WE Time stands for World Exploration.  These days will be primarily teacher-led learning and projects.  The topics will relate to ways in which music is a part of our lives and society.

Wednesday …………… MI Time        MI Time (pronounced MY) stands for Music/Innovation.  This one day a week is set aside for students to learn about a topic of their choosing.  It should be something they feel passionate about and are motivated to learn more about.  This part of our class is inspired by Don Wettrick’s book Pure Genius and should be very exciting.  Be on the lookout for what our students do with this amazing opportunity!


World music drumming instruments!

Thursday …………Musicing        Musicing is just what it sounds like – making music!  The most important part of musicing is that it is active music making.  Instead of talking about it – we’re doing it – alone and together. Students typically learn and retain much more this way and most importantly, they experience the joy of music making.  Our school has shown amazing support this year with the purchase of world music drumming instruments, ukuleles, and even buckets for bucket drumming.  Keep your ears peeled for the beautiful music coming from room 102!

Friday ………..Re-Friday        Re-Friday is for review, reflect, regroup, and sharing.  Students will review the work of the week, reflect on their learning, regroup and plan for the upcoming week, and share their progress with the class.

This is the design for a typical week but as we all know, typical weeks don’t always happen, so this schedule is subject to change.  Be warned – expect the unexpected in Music + STEM!

Finally, a word about grading…

Making music together requires teamwork so we develop this skill in other ways, too.

Making music together requires teamwork so we develop this skill in other ways, too.

Students will be assessed in the following ways:

  • Field notebooks/journals will be graded weekly
  • Musicianship grades will reflect students’ technique and their contribution to creating a successful musical environment
  • Projects
  • Progress checks within projects

Needless to say, we are excited about all that will be happening in Music + STEM this year!  Stay tuned for updates on the happenings of our classroom!

P.S. You may have heard of STEAM – when Arts are integrated into the traditional STEM subjects.  We deicided to call our class Music + STEM (or M+STEM) because Music is still at the forefront of the class.

Musicing on our first day together!

Musicing on our first day together!

2 responses »

  1. I love your attitude and plans for this class! Please let me know where you are teaching and the size of your school, also what other electives you offer and teach in the music department. We have STEAM at our school, but music has had to find its own way into the mix. I teach at a public high school in Manchester, NH.
    Thanks for the invitation to your blog!
    Sue Wilkes

    • Hi Susan,

      I teach in the central Ohio area. My classes are between 20 and 28 students and I see them everyday for a semester. I teach this class all day to 6 classes, but my school also offers band, choir, and orchestra. I’ll continue to post updates of what we’re doing!

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