SK Students Make Beautiful Multidisciplinary Music

By Mary Catherine Coleman, ILIS Department
During this school year, Senior Kindergarteners have been learning about coding and programming using the MakeyMakey, Scratch and coding robots. We have also been exploring stories and literature and using different art techniques to share our learning. For the final project, we combined all of these elements for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) project: musical markers!
Students read the story Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. The book is inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriage, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers. Kindergarteners made connections with the rhythms and sounds in the poetry of the text and the vibrant, colorful art of the images.
Next, students explored different types of drum sounds and chose their favorites to record. Then we used Scratch, a drag and drop coding program that kindergarten students have been using this year, to connect the audio files to a code connected to a key on the keyboard.
For the next step, we used MakeyMakey, an invention kit that allows you to connect code to everyday objects that conduct electricity, to connect alligator clips to the buttons we coded on the Scratch code. The ILIS teachers hammered nails into Crayola markers, and we connected the alligator clips to the nails. The MakeyMakey needs a home or earth connection that triggers the Scratch coding to work. We connected the earth key to a piece of paper and sprayed the paper with water to make it conductive, resulting in musical markers! When students started drawing on the paper, the drums sounds started playing!
Kindergarten students had so much fun with this STEAM project!

Click here for media from this project.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.