School leaders often look to STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education as a guide to providing courses of study that prepare students for success in 21st century careers. Providing such experiences in the elementary classroom can reinforce STEM learning at an early age and stimulate practical inquiries for a lifetime of future engagement. Such access for young children demands that such resources cut across a diverse school population where multiple cultures, different learning styles, exceptional abilities, and other challenges can await.
So how does one prioritize a curriculum that provides young students the best opportunities for STEM engagement? Primarily, this is done through the actuation presented for the different learning styles exhibited by most students. Accessing these learning styles - visual, aural, and kinesthetic – provide the student with the best prospect for practical engagement and retention. In practical application the best STEM teaching and learning does not come showing, it comes from DOING.
While on the surface, arts education may not appear STEM-related, some music tools such as the pBuzz early education music tool, introduce many opportunities and concepts for STEM engagements through personal discovery in all learning styles for these elementary learners. Consider these aspects:
- A scientific concept is a theory or law that explains why and how a natural event or process occurs. pBuzz provides such teaching opportunities through personal observations, including the discovery of acoustical awareness, observing and interacting with the movement of air through different sized cylinders, and encountering the relationship of vibration to sound and frequency. These are all difficult concepts made easily understood through teaching with pBuzz.
- Scientific concepts include mathematical formulas that explain or consistently describe natural phenomena. Basic mathematics is all about numbers, and the operations that can be performed with them. Teaching students with pBuzz provides an interactive adventure into the practical aspects of counting, the concept of fractions and division, the division of time, and multiple mathematical concepts of the world and universe around us as first expressed by Pythagoras and continually by others to this day.
- Some examples of simple scientific concepts include organization, diversity and change. Organization refers to the ability to classify natural objects. Diversity refers to the wide variety of natural components and the importance of that diversity. Change refers to the how everything in the natural environment changes continually.
- Rhythm and pitch are two excellent examples of concepts involving organization, diversity and change that are easily introduced to elementary learners through pBuzz. Rhythm (an organization of time) and pitch (frequency of vibration in a controlled space) also provide a deep introduction into many concepts including for computer sciences. Both can be written as an array of computer code which is often the basis for musical composition for gaming and entertainment in nearly every form of online and offline culture.
If you play an instrument or have a relative who does, you will know that musicians practice scales. They do this because scales are patterns that occur often in music and by practicing them, a musician can recognize them more quickly next time. At its most base level, music is simply a set of patterns. It’s the predictable and repetitive nature of music that helps our students with the study of science and math and providing the basis for technology and engineering concepts.
Incorporating pBuzz into the elementary school program provides the first introductions to understanding these concepts in ways that impact a diverse school population where multiple cultures, learning styles, and exceptional abilities can thrive and grow.