"Polyrhythm" Teacher Support


Polyrhythm Archived PoW  Student Version
Polyrhythm is no longer the current ESCOT Problem of the Week. The student version allows teachers to use the problem with their students without giving the students access to the archived answers. Teachers can use the link to the archived problem to get ideas of student thinking.
[Standards]
[Activities]
[Lessons]
[Dr. Math]
[Vocab]
[Other Resources]
In the Polyrhythm problem students will be investigating polyrhythms, and then have a chance to build their own to investigate the mathematics.
If you have something to share with us as you use any of the links or suggestions on this page (something you tried and changed or a new idea) we would love to hear from you. Please email us.
Alignment to the NCTM Standards  Grades 68
Number & Operations
 work flexibly with fractions to solve problems
Algebra
 understand patterns, relations, and functions
Problem Solving
 solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
Reasoning and Proof
 make and investigate mathematical conjectures
Communication
 communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others.
 use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely.
Connections
 recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside of mathematics.
Possible Activities:
PreActivity
Have students experiment with a lively drum experience (they can simply clap or tap on their desks), noting the chaos that happens. Have them listen to professional drumming to hear that it doesn't have to be chaotic. Follow up with a discussion about the differences between untrained and trained drumming. Here's a Quicktime video of a dancer and music that could be used:
Introduce or reinforce the idea of common multiples, as that is one of the things that drummers pay attention to.
PostActivity
Ask students to orchestrate the polyrhythms that they created in the problem. Then discuss which ones sound better  and why, relating it to the numbers involved in the rhythms.
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Resources to use with students:
Ask Dr. Math Archives
 Fractions of Musical Notes
 Math and the Piano
 The Math Behind Music: Pitches, Scales, Geometry
Vocabulary
 common multiple
 phrase
 ratio
 rhythm
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Other Resources
 Don Giovanni by Mozart  scroll down the page to find Don Giovanni Audio Samples
 Dance Drummer.com  view performances
 Fantasy Impromptu by Chopin  MIDI file
 Foundation Course in African Music
 Functional Melodies
By Scott Beall
Published by Key Curriculum Press
ISBN 155953371
 Jazz and Math: The Beat Goes On  PBS
 Understanding Rhythm  Guitar Principles.com
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