Music helps San Francisco students learn fractions

Posted on: March 29, 2012

In Wednesday’s (3/28) San Francisco Chronicle, Jill Tucker reports, “Third-grade students at a San Bruno elementary school who learned fractions through music scored significantly higher on standardized tests than their peers, said San Francisco State researchers experimenting with ways to teach math more effectively. Math scores significantly improved after one year of a math-focused music program, which included lessons in drumming, clapping and playing the recorder to help students understand how music is broken down into equivalent fractions. The specific curriculum, which researchers called academic music, was used to teach students at Allen Elementary to count beats in 4/4 time, breaking down whole notes to eighth notes. … The study, initiated in 2007 and the results released last week, showed test scores soared after the first year of the twice-a-week, 30-minute class with music teacher Endre Balogh, whose nonprofit Toones Academic Music promotes the curriculum. ‘It was phenomenal,’ said Principal Kit Cosgriff. … Balogh would like to see the program expanded, with classroom teachers learning the method through a scripted curriculum. So far, Cosgriff, the principal, has been able to maintain it in lower grades by pulling together funding from various state and local sources, but the money is running out, she said.”

Posted March 29, 2012