Music and Body Systems at Carpenter Elementary (2009-2010)

The Question

How is chamber music like a human body? Is a chamber music group a system? What does it mean to be a system?

The Process

In small groups, 3rd grade students created presentations focusing on either a body system or an aspect of general health. Topics such as the circulatory system, muscular system, healthy eating and exercise were explored with the members of Fifth House Ensemble through games and lessons. Learning human body vocabulary, healthy eating habits, the dangers of drug use, and how germs affect the body were studied in a charged group setting that helped bring variety to the important science lesson.

In addition to learning about body systems, students worked along with Fifth House Ensemble members to discover chamber music concepts, music vocabulary, performance practice, and how musicians work together to create a coherent performance. With this new information, each group was required to choose a topic and then select a piece of music to accompany their presentation. Students also presented a poem, a dance, or a song on their topic along with the music, and had to tell how the music fit in with their presentation.

The Final Project

The final performance consisted of members of Fifth House ensemble playing the students’ chosen compositions with the students’ multi-media presentations. The performance was open to the entire school community, including students, teachers, administrators, and families.