The Art of Teaching Science

What are some hands-on ideas of how to integrate science into music and art classes?  – A., Iowa

I believe that teachers should try to integrate subjects! Here are just a few ideas; search the NSTA Learning Center and NGSS@NSTA for more.

Science in Music
You can stretch large metal springs or plastic dryer vent tubes across your room to demonstrate waves or investigate many sound-related properties.

Record stringed and percussion instruments in slow motion to observe the wave patterns. Change the note and see the difference in the instrument.

Wind instruments create sound by “bouncing” waves repeatedly inside them. If the wavelength and the tube “match” (resonate) then you get a nice loud sound. Investigate this relationship by making pan flutes out of differing lengths of straws, PVC pipe, or use plastic bottles with varying amounts of water.

Science in Visual Arts
Try some chromatography—the reverse of color mixing. Cut coffee filters or blotter paper into long strips. Dab a saturated dot of ink from pens or markers near one end. Dip the tip of that paper in a small amount of water in a tall glass. Over time and you will see the colors in the ink separate as they are carried as the water wicks upward.

Differentiate between additive and subtractive color mixing using light filters. Just overlapping different colored LED Christmas lights will show that blue and green light make yellow!

A chemical reaction occurs between damp plaster and paint which makes frescos brighter and much more durable than paint on wood or canvas. This could lead to a discussion of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.

Hope this helps!

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