The Sounds of Biomes: Science/Music Integration

The Sounds of Biomes: Science/Music Integration

Vi Taylor
[email protected]
Friends Academy

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments




General Music


synthesizer, PC, recording capability


90 min. Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Science content (the characteristics of biomes) and the sounds to be heard in those places. Knowledge of how to create those sounds on a synthesizer, and the ability to play recorder and other classroom instruments.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing

NAfME Standards of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

NAfME 2014: Connections


CD: Whales Alive, Paul Winter. Instruction sheet, synthesizer, classroom instruments, recording devices, sound files, computer with web access;


Students will compose digital music which reflects sounds heard in various biomes, and use it along with “live” music played on classroom instruments, finally recording the piece digitally. They should be able to verbally articulate their plan and to execute it, working cooperatively within a small group.


Preparation: listening to the Paul Winter recording, followed by discussion of how music and animal sounds can work together in a fusion style. Students will work in groups of 3-4, with whom they have already worked in science class, researching biomes. They will discuss sounds likely heard in their biome, and determine how they might be reproduced and/or suggested through music. Approximately 30 minutes will be given for discussion, selection of instruments, sound files, and experimenting with digital sounds. Another 15-30 min. for determining form, improvising and composing. The resulting recording could be used to accompany a powerpoint presentation or a live presentation for the rest of the class. (30 min)


5 – students correctly represented the sounds in their biome in a well-organized sound piece. They also worked well together as a group.
4 – students did most of the required work with only minor problems and worked quite well together.
3- half of the objectives were met.
2- students did less than half of the required work and had difficulty working together
1- students did not achieve the required product

Follow Up:

Listen to classical recordings that suggest or represent nature:
Beethoven: “Pastoral” Symphony
Smetana: “The Moldau”
Vivaldi: “The Four Seasons”, especially “Spring”


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