A sight that allows students to explore the science of sound and music using interactive exhibits, movies, and text. Students are encouraged to use the site to "compose, mix, dance, drum, experiment, and above all, listen"
Students will learn about spatial and dynamic parameters of human hearing, the effect of visual information on aural perception, polyrhythms as heard in "stepping," the use of drumming to send messages, the common object origins of selected instruments, the relationship of length and density to the pitch of idiophones, and parameters of sound such as amplitude, timbre, reflection, attenuation, and resonnance.
Target Student Population:
Upper elementary, middle school.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
There are short videos, graphics, animations and a heavy use of flash objects.
This site may be used to introduce students to basic questions and issues involved in the production of sounds, as enrichment material in a music or science class.
Multimedia web browser.
Evaluation and Observation
Content appears to be accurate and is presented in a visually appealing format that includes interactive Flash, video, audio, and text. Material is frequently entertaining and the site encourages students to experiment away from the site. The site asks some questions that are left unanswered, providing fertile ground for continued exploration of the topics.
Coverage of some topics is superficial. More emphasis is placed on acoustic properties of sound than on aesthetic uses of sounds.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site quickly draws the user in with simple but intriguing questions and specifically invites those who don't consider themselves to be "very musical" to explore.
Although the site is designed for easy informal navigation by novice visitors, teacher guidance would be required to provide sequence, consolidate learnings, and integrate the content into an existing curriculum. Although pronunciation of foreign terms is sometimes provided through video narration, a text-based pronunciation guide and cross-linking to a glossary would be helpful.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is very easy to use: the navigation scheme is clear, objects load automatically when selected, directions are included for interactive objects, and "help" links are provided for most objects.
It takes some clever clicking around to figure out some of the possibilities of the Flash exhibits.
Other Issues and Comments:
This site will perform best in a "broadband" environment.