Music and Mathematics

Report


Christina Lloyd
Mathematics Specialization
 Research
Question: Will teaching a
mathematics unit through music increase
first graders’ understanding of that
mathematical content over time?
 Music
is mathematics
o Music is comprised of mathematical relationships
(Southgate
and Roscigno, 2009)
o Music naturally lends itself to incorporating and teaching
mathematical concepts (Johnson & Edelson, 2003; Geist & Geist, 2008)
 Musical
mnemonics
o Help students memorize information
(Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990)
o Works through rehearsal of material (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1990)

Setting:
o Kindergarten/First grade multi-aged classroom in a Stafford County public
school

Participants:
o Only first graders were assessed during this study
o 9 first graders from my K/1 classroom (experimental group)
o 7 first graders from a different K/1 classroom (control group)

Duration:
o Two week measurement unit
o Tested after the unit, and again two and four weeks after the unit
o Coins were taught and practiced throughout my student teaching
experience


Supplemental Musical Activities
Music is mathematics
o A mountain dulcimer was used to teach the mathematical concept
of length

Musical mnemonics
o Recognition of coins and their value, a concept taught in
mathematics, will be taught through a song



Students were assessed one-on-one with the researcher
Assessments took place after the measurement unit, and
again two and four weeks after the unit ended
Students were asked to:
o List tools and strategies we can use to measure things
o What measurement is (definition)
o Identify coins
o Identify values of coins
o List how students learned about the coins

Music is Mathematics
o Students in the experimental group had a broader definition of
measurement than the control group
o Students in the experimental group also had more measurement
strategies, on average, than the control group
Average Number of Strategies Listed
Assessment Data Collection Number

Musical Mnemonic
o Many students could already successfully identify the various coins
and their values
o Students who initially struggled with identifying coin names and
values were very successful once they used the coin song
Percentage Correct on Coin Identification and Value Assessment
Control Group
Experimental
Group
Assessment #1
Assessment #2
Assessment #3
Average
73.21
83.33
89.29
81.94
85.94
93.75
95.85
91.85

Music is a tool which can be used to broader understanding
of underlying mathematical content

Music as a memory tool can help struggling students
master mathematical concepts which must be memorized

I would use this in my own classroom to enhance
mathematics activities, and to engage students
Armistead, M. (2007). Kaleidoscope: How a creative arts enrichment program prepares children for kindergarten.
Young Children, 62, 86-93.
Geist, E. A., Geist, K. (2008). Using music to support emergent mathematics. Young Children, 63, 20-25.
Johnson, G. L., Edelson, R. J. (2003). Integrating music and mathematics in the elementary classroom. Teaching
Children Mathematics, 9, 474-479.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A. (1990). The case for mnemonic instruction: From laboratory research to
classroom applications. The Journal of Special Education, 24, 7-29.
Southgate, D. E., & Roscigno, V. J. (2009). The impact of music on childhood and adolescent achievement. Social
Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited), 90, 4-21.
Questions?

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