Children are clapping, drumming and chanting to learn fractions at a California elementary school. It seems to be working, concludes a study which will be published in Educational Studies in Mathematics.
“If students don’t understand fractions early on, they often struggle with algebra and mathematical reasoning later in their schooling,” said Susan Courey, assistant professor of special education at San Francisco State University.
Students in Academic Music scored 50 percent higher on a fraction test than students in the regular math class. Lower-performing students narrowed the gap with high achievers.
Fourth-grade math scores have soared since a San Bruno school adopted Academic Music, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
On Tuesday, 29 children at Allen Elementary School tapped out a rhythm with drumsticks as (Endre) Balogh stepped and clapped in 4/4 time at the front of the class. He stepped four times per beat. One clap equaled a whole note, two claps indicated two half notes, and so on.
“Which is larger, the whole note or the half note?” he asked.
“Whole note,” one of the third-graders replied.
“Whole note, but why?” the teacher said.
“Because it’s longer,” another student called out.
Toones Academic Music, a nonprofit, is working to expand the program to more schools.
Coach G has tips for teaching “the dreaded f word, fractions.”