« Campaign Aims to Draw Children to Reading With Diverse Books | Main | Violinist Challenges Famous Suzuki Teaching Method »

Music and STEM Merge in Wash. Elementary School

At Stevens Elementary in Spokane, Wash., two dozen 5th and 6th grade students are using their STEM skills in an unexpected way. Led by music teacher Shawn Tolley, students write and create electronic music as part of the school's Electronic Music Club.

In the video below, produced by Spokane Public Schools, Tolley says he wanted to connect his students to a subject he loveshe composes electronic music outside of the classroom as well—and that the kids found it "fascinating." The students learn about mixing tracks, recording sounds, burning CDs, and more: "We'll talk about every aspect of electronic music we can," says Tolley.

Stevens Elementary is a public school where 90 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches, according to a fundraising campaign from earlier this year. Tolley says that because of their backgrounds, many of his students "do not have the resources available to provide them with rich and unique experiences," making the club an even more significant opportunity for them.

According to The Spokesman-Review, many of the club's members hope to use these skills later in life, with dreams of becoming "a disc jockey, a video game designer, a sound technician or audio engineer." Because of the techniques used in electronic music creation, the students draw on the information learned in their math classes as well as on their computer skills.

Tolley plans on working with other teachers to bring electronic music to the rest of the district's elementary schools as well. His students will present the results of their efforts to their family and friends in a concert, accompanied by the choir, at the end of the year.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed On Teacher



Recent Comments