Today’s world requires students to be knowledgeable users of technology, and Minisink Valley music teachers have found creative ways to build that proficiency in music classes.
As an example, Otisville Elementary fifth-grade students have been working on a STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Mathematics) unit using Makey Makeys and Chromebooks in Maria Fenfert’s music classes to create original, four-note, musical compositions.
Makey Makeys are electronic invention tools and toys that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs. Using a circuit board, clips, and a USB Cable, this tool uses closed loop electrical signals to send the computer either a keyboard stroke or mouse click signal. This function allows the Makey Makey to work with any computer program or webpage that accepts keyboard or mouse click inputs.
This project is part of a larger STEAM unit where students reviewed the parts of a circuit and learned how to make a circuit using the Makey Makey and conductors like Play-Doh, water, fruit, and metal nails to create a “xylophone” out of these materials.
When hooked up correctly, students were able to play their xylophone by tapping their conductive materials instead of using the computer keyboard to make musical sounds.
Students then performed their original compositions on their Makey xylophones, sharing their musical and technology success with their peers!