Parts of a Whole

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Fifth grade teacher, Jamie Militello, at Chase Elementary School and teaching artist, Jamie Topper, meet to identify areas of
the 5th grade math curriculum that relate to music concepts. The teaching artist wonders what the students are having
trouble learning? The classroom teacher shares that her students are having difficulty understanding the concepts of
fractions as part of a whole. The team agrees that physicalizing a fraction in musical time could help students better relate
to the math concepts. They work with the idea that one quarter is a base for understanding divisibles. They look at the
quarter note both in terms of practical application and more conceptual thinking. One quarter is an easy translation of
fractions to musical notes and is the departure point to understanding more complex fractions.
Additionally, the act of creating a musical composition together as a group will also help with one of the 5th grade
social/behavioral goals of responsibility. By being responsible for specific parts in the composition, students develop
ownership for individual and group learning.


Illinois Learning Standards that are being met include:
Standard 6 A: Students who meet the standard can demonstrate knowledge and use of numbers and their many representations in a broad range of theoretical and practical settings.
Fine Arts - Music
Standard 26 A: Students who meet the standard understand processes, traditional tools and modern technologies used in the arts.

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