Home » science

Tag: science

Science of Music with George

For four weeks, we’ve had a guest teacher, George, come to visit our school and offer a series of four classes: Intro to Chemistry, Starry Starry Night (about constellations), BOOM! Chemical Explosions, and finally, The Science of Music.


This week, one of our students was ill for the last class, so I typed up a few notes during The Science of Music so they could get some idea of what happened. I couldn’t capture all of it, but did what I could, and thought that other kids (at our ALC or others) might find some of the content interesting and could check out the links below at home. Below are notes I sent to the student who missed the class to share with anyone else who is interested:

First we talked about classical music but unfortunately I don’t have this part to share since the music was copyrighted on George’s computer. Next we talked about how sounds are made, looking at a record and its rings. Georged showed us a video of how a person converted tree rings to music. We looked at the rings of an actual record and compared those to the tree rings. We thought it was pretty cool that a person was actually able to take a slice of a tree and adapt a turn table to play its rings!

Then we watched a music video by this super cool band called “Ok Go.” It’s phenomenal. I actually had watched it a few weeks back and love the lyrics and video. The band rode in a plane to simulate zero gravity. The plane would fly up and then drop down then back up and drop down and back up and drop down. On their free fall drops, it would simulate zero gravity and they, and their objects, would float as if they were in space. If you watch carefully, you can pick out when the plane is on “rise” and when it’s on “fall.” You can watch the band talk about how they did this here.

Then George tried to play music with a saw for us, which yielded very quiet results, lol! We watched a Britain’s Got Talent clip where a guy really plays one too. George also showed us a music box with metal prongs that spun to create a melody. Please note that George explained all this much better than I am doing now – I was pulled out of the class to help someone else for a bit, and during the class, I only wrote down the links and hoped I could remember more.
George making music with a saw and various tools.


We also played with water in glasses, you can see George and Charlotte here, and watch a guy on youtube doing an amazing performance here.


Finally, George brought vegetables that were carved to be instruments! I was out of the room when he played them and discussed how this works, but here is a music clip on youtube he also showed from the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra! You could probably google how to do this and try at home 🙂

Highlights from the week – October 27-31

This week was full of ease and flow. I feel like we are harvesting right now the fruits of having a group of kids that has been working on how to be in community with one another for over a year now.

Some quick highlights from the week:

  • I visited a teen program in Asheville – they are beginning to use Agile tools and practices! I wrote a blog post earlier this week with more details on that trip.
Morning circle at Endor
Morning circle at Endor
  •  Tomis taught the kids a super fun strategy game called Tictactics. It’s tic-tac-toe to the extreme. What was really interesting is the he presented the game the morning after I read an article called, “How Guessing Games Help Kids Solve Math Problems.” While the article focus on numerical guessing games, I see the link to strategy guessing games also providing a strong mathematical foundations. Both girls and boys got into the game during our Math Club hour and I loved seeing that!
Level 3 of the Egg Drop Challenge
Level 3 of the Egg Drop Challenge
  • Our Language Club visited Pura Vida in NoDa to practice our Spanish skills and see the Day of the Dead Altar. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on Nov 1 of each year in Latin America. I’ve been taking kids to Pura Vida to see the Altar for 5 years years now! The owner and all the employees are very friendly and kind to the kids. The let the kids pretend to buy items in the store using the Spanish they knew. @Sassygirl26 could speak fluently of course and also taught us what she knew about Latin American traditions! She saw egg shells filled with confetti and told us that they are used to crack over the heads of others we want to wish good luck on. We bought 12 eggs for $1.25 and used them to wish each other luck the next day! It was a mess, but lots of fun 🙂
  • Our Fall Festival! Oh man, what a fun day. We had face painting, bobbing for apples, fashion shows/clothing displays, a costume contest, and an International Display where we tasted food from various parts of the world. @Sassygirl26 and @Tessa were really excited to plan this day and met many times over the weeks leading up for it to prepare a runway, make decorations, and plan activities and a schedule.
Prepping for the Fall Fashion Show
After the costume contest
After the costume contest

We certainly ended October with a bang, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!