Here’s a fun way to get some math concepts across – teach math and music together. Counting, measuring, thinking are all skills practiced in math.
On Tuesday, Nick Krissie’s class of nine students at Sunset Middle School in Coos Bay finished making their diddley bows. These are one-string slide guitars that became a big influence on the blues and originated in the South.
The music class became overcrowded this year,so Krissie had an idea. He makes cigar box guitars in his spare time. Why not teach music and math together?
“They’re simple enough a fourth-grader could do,” he said. “When I was in fourth grade, the money to buy a guitar was outside of reality; so was making one.”
So he put a call out for essays. Out of the school’s 125 fourth-graders, 70 wrote essays hoping to get into the class — 10 made the cut. Some talked about why they deserved to be in the class. Others, like Ryan Liggett, went into extensive historical detail about the one-string guitars. He was among the first on Tuesday to find the right frets and play the first three immediately recognizable notes of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.”
The diddley bows are made of very few parts — cookie tins, dominoes, nails and wire — but soon the students were plucking away, trying out that famous riff.
The class did the math. After doing just a few chores, they would each be able to afford the materials required to make a diddley bow.
“It’s organized chaos,” Krissie said to superintendent Dawn Granger, with the students scattered behind him, heads bent over their new instruments.