The CAPE sound project was done in double period Algebra I through an arts integration grant through the CAPE foundation. I attended four professional development sessions over the course of the year along with the artist, and we collaborated together in a series of lessons and a final project.
Students in the classroom were exposed to experimental forms of music and to the idea of a sound installation as a form of art. The connection to math we decided on was graphical representation. Even though students at this level had not had trigonometry, students were shown that sound is a wave and that software like Geometer’s Sketchpad can actually “play” the sound represented by different functions like y=sin x and that adjustments in frequency and amplitude of the function will affect pitch and volume.
Experiments were done with Audacity in which the wave lengths produced by different instruments and objects, like blowing on a water bottle, were examined in real-time. The music teacher was invited in for a demonstration and a discussion about how a range of musical instruments work and connections were made to our conversations about graphical representations and sound waves. A student who had built a banjo for the Science Olympiad also came to the class and spoke. The final project with the artist was a piece of sound art in which students “played” classroom objects by banging them in different ways per graphical representations they made that they followed along together. Some of the grant money was used to purchase a contact microphone and special recording equipment to record the ethereal sounds these objects made when the propagated waves through the table. The artist then edited these sounds and these were synched with visuals of the graphical representations the students were playing.