Music PBL Night

MusicPBL Night

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a big deal in my district.  All teachers are expected to do at least one project each year.  This was my first year doing a project and I chose the Science of Sound.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to create the entire unit on my own.  I used Aileen Miracle’s Science of Sound Unit and added to it to make it cohesive with the PBL mindset.

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It really is great and so full of awesome resources.  I definitely encourage anyone looking to make cross-curriculum connections in the music room.  I won’t go into detail about the unit since it is Aileen’s product and I don’t want to steal her thunder but I encourage you to check it out.

One of the main ideas of Project Based Learning is for students to have the opportunity to show what they have learned.  Since the final project of the series was to create a functioning instrument out of recycled materials, that was the basis of our PBL night. PBL Night.005

Students had to name their instrument and tell what family it belongs in.  Here are the rules and rubric used for the project.

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Of course, I wanted other activities that went with the Science of Sound idea.

My absolute favorite was the Instrument Petting Zoo.  I won’t claim it as an original idea but it was a blast.  I borrowed extra instruments from the band director as well as instruments from my own classroom and set them out with QR codes with information about each instrument.

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Students (and parents) enjoyed being able to touch and experiment with the instruments.  Don’t worry, I took the mouth pieces and/or reeds off.  I also had a very trustworthy teacher pal whose job it was to make sure everyone was being somewhat careful.  It was a hit!

There were two boomwhacker stations.  The first one had sheets of boomwhacker music (maybe I’ll get tech-y next time) for participants to play familiar tunes on the boomwhackers.

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The second station requested students to hold a boomwhacker to their ear.  Did you know you can hear the sounds of the room with the tone of the boomwhacker?  Crazy, huh?

At this station, students could experiment with recycled materials as speakers for a cell phone.  The kids got a kick out of it.

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The final two stations (only one shown) are activities taken directly from Aileen’s Science of Sound Unit so students could show their families what we did in class to build up to their final project of creating an instrument.

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Finally, here is the map I created to show where each station was in the library.

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Anyway, it was a great night.  There wasn’t a very big turnout but I think that’s due to it being a new idea and very out of the box. My first informance was earlier this month and it was light in attendance as well because people just don’t know what to expect but word gets around.  Plus, it’s great for our programs for parents to see what we do and teach outside of performances.  That’s just my thought, at least. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

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7 thoughts on “Music PBL Night

  1. Did you give your students/parents any guidelines as to what materials they could use to create their instrument or any “how-to-make” guides, or did they do the research themselves outside of class?

  2. My school in Brisbane, Australia sounds similar to yours. I too am using PBL’s in my upper years music classroom. Funny I have a similar unit of students looking at instruments of the orchestra, then unusual instruments (such as hurdy gurdy) and then using the information that they know about these instruments they make their own. To add on to that they then sample theirs and others instruments on MadPad and make a composition (hence it having a music focus). I am about to write a thesis on this project for my uni studies too.

  3. Hi there, I love this project! I am thinking of doing something similar with my students. I am so glad I stumbled upon this! Two questions: how long did you allot for this project? (A few weeks? Or days?) and what age group did you do it with?
    Thank you!

    • Hey there! The project took about four entire class periods so, for me, it took four weeks since I only see my students once a week. I did with fifth grade but I’m probably going to try it with fourth grade next year. The event is open to all grade levels.

      Thanks for reading!

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