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Using GarageBand to Teach Equivalent Ratios
Growing up, music became an important part of my life. I enjoyed the creativity that playing an instrument gave me, and still gives me to this day. But one of the greatest gifts that music gave me personally was a greater insight into Mathematics. I struggled with Math all my life, and it was not until I had been playing an instrument for about a year that I started to see those connections, and suddenly fractions began to make sense to me.
I knew that music would be a great tool to use with my students to help reinforce math concepts. With this project, I decided to use the Beat Sequencer in GarageBand as that tool.
To start the activity, open up GarageBand and swipe left or right until you get to the Drums, click on the bottom toolbar for the Beat Sequencer.
Once it is open, you would just need to click on various boxes to turn on that beat and create a drum sequence. In this activity, I use it a little differently and have the students look at it a little differently.
I create couplets (line pairs) for each ratio. The bass drum and snare drum are the 1st ratio. The hand claps and closed hi-hat cymbal are the 2nd ratio. The open high-hat and floor tom are the 3rd ratio. And the 4th ratio is the tom-tom and the drumsticks.
I start creating a group beat by starting with ratios equivalent to 1:2. I allow students to turn on whatever beat they want, but it has to be on those lines. So the bass drum will get only one beat on the entire line, and the snare drum will get 2 beats only.
Then we move to the second pair, which is the hand clap the closed hi-hat cymbal, and create a ratio of 2:4
And then continue the process to finish the 3rd and 4th ratios.
Once you have finished, click the play button and listen to the beat you created. I then have the students create a ratio and the equivalent ratios to random ratios such as 2:3. Below is a sample song.
Enjoy music and ratios.
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