Amp Up Your Lessons With a Cross-Curricular Project About Music

Storypath units promote children as active participants in their own learning. Students learn about topics through cross-curricular connections woven into[…]Continue Reading

Storypath units promote children as active participants in their own learning. Students learn about topics through cross-curricular connections woven into an imaginative real-world scenario. They role-play and make critical decisions independently and collaboratively. Invite your students on a rock band adventure! This unit integrates Common Core standards with project-based learning. Students discover that what they learn in school is valuable, even for a rock star!

Getting Started
Invite students to pretend that they have been hired to manage a rock band! The band is just starting out. They need a name, logo, tour bus and publicity. First, brainstorm names. 

English Language Arts: Students will create a name and compose a persuasive paragraph explaining why their peers should choose it. They should provide reasons that support their opinions.

Math: Take a class vote, then tally and graph the results.

Art: After a name is chosen, students will create a logo. Then, take a class vote.


Creating the Setting
Math/Art: Create cooperative learning groups and have students collaborate and design a tour bus, mapping out the area and perimeter. The logo should be included somewhere on their tour bus. Then, as a class, vote on the design. Next, what would the interior of the tour bus look like? Think about seating, bedding, the restroom and the kitchen area.

Geography: Create a map of the interior of the bus.

Creating the Characters
Invite students to work with their cooperative learning group and create band members using the Web 2.0 tool Voki. Each team is in charge of creating one member.

Art: Have students work with their cooperative learning group and create  paper versions of their characters.

English Language Arts: Next, as a class, decide what each band member’s role in the band is. Each team will collaborate and write a fictional biography about the character they created. 

Math: Once all band members are created, figure out fractions: boys vs. girls, hair color, eye color, instrument, etc. For example, the band is 3/6 or 1/2 boys. 

Building Context
The next step is to create an album!

English Language Arts: Write a song for the band. Students should include a simile, metaphor, hyperbole, alliteration or onomatopoeia  (whatever your class is working on). Vote on what song should be the band’s single. Add music to the song using a music-making app or enlist some help from the music teacher.

Science: Explore sound by creating musical instruments out of recycled goods. Perform the song as a class.

The band needs publicity. Have students brainstorm ideas and research who they should write to.

Technology: Make a music video!

Examples: Get local press by writing to the person in charge of music for local editorials. Contact local music venues and radio stations.

English Language Arts: Write a persuasive letter explaining why they should set up an interview or live performance with the band. (Teacher responds back as an imaginary businessperson, or have a local person write back).

The band is suddenly an overnight success on YouTube!

Math/Art: Design album artwork. Students should measure out the correct dimensions.

The band needs a place to perform. 

Math/Art: As a class, design a stage for the concert (area and perimeter). How many people will fit in the arena?

Math/Economics: Figure out a price for tickets (general admission and reserved seating). Create tickets using the Web 2.0 tool Fake Ticket Generator. Calculate how much money will be made for a sold-out show.

Math/Economics/Art: Design T-shirts and a poster for the band’s first big debut. How much will they cost? Figure out how many were sold and figure out how much money was made from the products.

Critical Incidents
The band ordered a pizza while practicing for the big show. How can they help the pizza man find where to drop it off?

Geography: Collaborate and create a map of the arena. Think about food/drinks and restrooms.

A fan got injured while crowd surfing. Have students brainstorm ideas.

English Language Arts: Write a friendly letter to the fan. (Teacher responds back as an imaginary person.)

The band is spending too much money and needs to go on a budget.

Math: Write down all of the band’s expenses. What expenses would be the easiest to reduce? How can the band reduce their expenses?

The band has made it mainstream. They are going on a world tour. 

Geography: Using a map, mark off all of the places the band will be performing. Students could even research music venues in different areas of the world.

Concluding Events
Celebrate the band’s success! Have a rock band party.

Optional: Throughout the process, create a timeline (Social Studies) to keep track of the band’s success.

Erin Bittman is currently studying Early Childhood Education at the University of Cincinnati. In the fall, she will be a third grade student teacher. Check out her blog, E Is for Explore!