STEM Meets Symphony

01 September 2021

Music is a fun and accessible way to inspire school students to learn' however many students are unaware of the science behind music.

Fortunately' a partnership between the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) and CQUniversity saw Gladstone primary school students immersed in creative and stimulating activities that highlighted the connection between science and music.

STEM Meets Symphony is a unique program that teaches primary school students why science is essential to everyday life through a range of highly engaging experiments.

Event coordinator CQUniversity Senior Lecturer' Australia Pacific LNG STEM Central Lead Dr Linda Pfeiffer said due to the lack of students undertaking math and science subjects at university' there is a real need to engage with primary school students now to gain their interest at a young age.

"We were fortunate enough to partner with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra to bring this fun and intuitive program to Gladstone'" Dr Pfeiffer said.

"The program involved six zones where students were faced with various challenges such as coding robots' creating musical instruments using household items and looking at a range of musical instruments under a microscope and capturing the different textures and how they may influence the properties of the sound it produces.

"These experiments instill STEM knowledge that can be used in their everyday lives."

Special guest David Montgomery' a percussionist from the QSO' kicked off the day by guiding students through a rhythm tree exercise which helps students understand the relationship between different rhythmic values.

Zone one saw students coding Ozobot robots to follow the lines of a treble clef while adding in some groovy dance moves. Ozobot robots can identify lines' colours and codes' providing it moves along the pathway created. This teaches students technical skills they can leverage off in their everyday lives and exposing them to the exciting world of engineering.

While in zone five students tapped into their artistic side when they were tasked with recreating music through light paintings. This technique involves using torches and coloured cellophane in a dark room to mimic music. The light paintings are captured through photography resulting in amazing visual pieces.

Wrapping up the day' students showcased their new-found skills with a demonstration using the instruments they created.

Dr Pfeiffer said the program was a huge success and she hopes to continue to bring these unique programs to Central Queensland.

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