AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Students at Carver Elementary Academy’s piano lab are using math and science skills for the first time to learn piano and create their own music.
“They started building and creating their song using the rhythm pool noodles with the note values,” said Piano Teacher Kim Soliz. “Then they moved that to the mason jars, which we talked about the sound, and they got to choose their own sound using the mason jars. And then they wrote that on their paper and then they went to the pianos and played it as a song.”
Amarillo ISD is pushing for science, technology, engineering and math or STEM skills to be incorporated more in the classroom.
“They kind of learned a little bit about the science of sound. And in order for them to compose music, they have to understand sound in order for the music they compose to sound appropriate,” said Learning, Design and Technology Coach for Amarillo ISD Mindy Montano.
Soliz said she wanted to have her students express themselves creatively while also learning how STEM skills can apply to things outside of math and science classes.
“I had been doing the composing part mostly this school year because I was trying to help with their writing skills,” she said. “And then when we started talking about incorporating STEM into our magnet program, I decided to just, you know, take the bull by the horns and start incorporating it in my classroom, and I’ve seen so much happiness in here since I’ve done it. They were happy before, but now it’s more exciting.”
The students said playing with the mason jars and working as a team are their favorite parts of the lesson.
“I say, going to the glasses,” said third grader Amelia McCampbell.
“I like when we go to the mason jars, because we make music. I like the piano part because we all work together, pointing each note for each other so we don’t mess up,” said third grader Anai Contreras.
“To see them talk to each other about what they’re learning and how to put it on the piano is exciting for me because they’re growing as musicians,” said third grader Aivah Bannavong.
Soliz said she has more STEM lessons lined up for her students.
“How music works with engineering and how things are made the inside of the piano and how sound really works through different projects, other than just the mason jars and then the math part of it, we’re going to continue doing you know different math activities to help them with different time signatures and music,” she said.
Amarillo ISD will also soon purchase new pianos for the lab with technology to help students learn music composition.