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April 10th, 2009
Lesson Plan 2: We've Got Rhythm
Learning Activity 1

1) Ask your students when they think humans are usually first exposed to rhythm. Explain that humans are exposed to rhythm even before birth. The fetus begins to hear between 17 and 19 weeks. They are already in a world of sound, of breath and heartbeat, of rhythm and vibration.

2) FRAME the first video segment by explaining that the students are going to watch a video clip that discusses ways that our breathing, pulse and movements can be helped by music. Provide a FOCUS by asking students to find out ways that the rhythm of music can be used in hospitals to help patients.

3) PLAY Video Segment 1, “Healing Rhythms.” FOLLOW UP by asking students to discuss ways that the rhythm of music can be used to help patients. (Music is used to steady the breathing of premature babies. In hospitals, music is used to steady the heartbeats of cardiac patients. The walking of Parkinson patients can be improved if their actions are accompanied by music.)

4) Ask students why they think that music can help Parkinson’s patients improve their walking? (There appears to be a strong connection between the auditory and motor regions of the brain, which can help explain why music can help to improve motor skills of Parkinson’s patients. Music seems to engage the motor system.)

5) Remind students that the previous clip mentioned that everyone, including children and people not trained in music, will begin to rhythmically move or dance when hearing music. Ask if anyone knows the term that means “moving in time to a beat.” (Synchronization.)

6) FRAME the next segment by explaining that you are now going to show a video clip that looks at synchronization and whether or not the ability to synchronize to music is unique to humans. Provide a FOCUS by asking students to make predictions about whether or not they think other species can move in time to a beat.

7) PLAY Video Segment 2, “Synchronization.” FOLLOW UP by discussing the segment. Ask your students what they think now about whether other species can synchronize to music. (At least one bird- Snowball- can.) Lead a discussion about the segment. During the discussion, explain that the ability to synchronize to a beat is not commonly observed in non-human species.

8 ) Optional: Tell your students that it is now time to celebrate the ability to synchronize. Play a song and ask your students to move to the beat.

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