Elementary students are finding math in music with an artist in residence.
Iowa City fifth graders are learning math through music as this year’s M.C. Ginsberg Artist in Residence, Henry Cardenas, combines both in his curriculum which teaches math concepts through playing music.
Cardenas is a New York musician who is studying elementary education at the University of Iowa. He spends two hours each week at elementary schools in Iowa City. Students create electronic music tracks using a free online program, Audiotool. They compiled drums with vocals and other instruments. And while they were doing that, they were learning about math through rhythm and tempo.
“Music has a strong relationship with math,” Cardenas said. “You can distill it down to patterns and numbers — keeping rhythm requires understanding of fractions and decimals, for example — it’s just rewiring them to understand it in a different way. … It helps them see numbers differently.”