Education Technology

Composing Music Mathematically

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

This activity is designed to motivate and challenge first year algebra students through a fun introduction to advanced mathematical concepts. It also offers extensions for upper grade level students. Students will recognize relationships between mathematics and music by identifying the frequency (and loudness) of a pure tone. Students will discover that sound can be represented as a function. Students will collect pure tones and generate smooth curves.

Before the Activity

Teacher will motivate the lesson by conducting an experiment to see what the results on the calculator would be if a students attempts to reproduce the pure sound of a tuning fork.
For higher-level students, the teacher may also import a picture (attached) into the Activity Center and ask students to match the curve.

During the Activity

Students will: A) Attempt to graph the (time vs pressure) data sent by the teacher. The goal is to see if students can adjust the WINDOW in order to view the data. B) Conduct an experiment to determine the frequency of a tuning fork. C) Complete Activity Sheet.
Teacher will use Screen Capture to monitor student progress.

After the Activity

Review student answers:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary