The project combines the expertise of teachers, biologists, physicists
and musicians to encourage and enhance science, environmental
awareness and music teaching in schools.
The day can begin with physical theatre, exporing the nature
of sound. Percussion workshops are used to explore music making.
They also explore what fruits and vegetables are, and which
part of the plant they come from. The focus of the workshop
is then pupils making, and playing, their own musical instruments
from the vegetables and plant material supplied to them, perhaps
inspired by musical instruments they have learned to play
during the day. The final activity in the day might be a vegetable
concert for the parents.
Growing Sound uses group discussion and problem solving
to encourage children to develop original ideas. As the work
is based on oral and physical activities all pupils have an
opportunity to demonstrate their ideas, regardless of their
literacy skills or special needs.
The pilot was run in a number of schools. A CPD session has
been held at the Science Learning Centre NW. A flexible model
was developed that provides a framework for other schools
to use. Currently curriculum and CPD materials are being finalised
by Wonderstruck Learning.
The objectives of this activity are:
1. To work on the art/engineering/science divides to inspire
pupils to be interested in engineering.
2. To improve the teaching of science.
3. To increase pupils’ understanding of what sound is
and how things make sound.
4. To increase pupils’ understanding of plant biology.
5. To demonstrate that engineering is not compartmentalised
in traditional disciplines.
6. To show pupils that science can be creative and fun!
Many people, including Salford University, have used musical
instrument construction as a vehicle to explore engineering.
Using vegetables to make the instruments makes the activity
memorable to pupils and therefore more effective. It also
enables a discussion of the biology involved and illustrates
how engineering problems are often not compartmentalised within
traditional discipline boundaries. The idea for musical instruments
made from vegetables has been used by Trevor Cox in science
cabaret. Working independently of Professor Cox, the project
partners for this activity have piloted a project called ‘Growing
Sound’, which exploits vegetable instruments in school
work. The Growing Sound project is being developed under the
aegis of the ‘Sound Matters’ project, in particular
by working more science into the activities, extending the
age range for the activities, and providing a legacy of materials
that can be taken up and used by schools in the future.
The activity explores:
* The physics of sound: e.g. echoes, sound absorbing and
resonance of materials and cavities.
* The underlying biological characteristics of the materials
that are grown that make them resonate, allow them to be hollowed
* Creating sounds using simple instruments made from fruits
* Using the process of growing and collecting materials to
address the biology curriculum.
* Designing and building sound gardens to explore sound and
Once the curriculum materials have been finished, the intention
is to publicise the work so that teachers use the activity
across the UK. We will create a website where the material
can be hosted.