Original Research

Enriching the teaching of fractions through integrating mathematics and music

Tarryn S. Lovemore, Sally-Ann Robertson, Mellony Graven
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 11, No 1 | a899 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v11i1.899 | © 2021 Tarryn S. Lovemore, Sally-Ann Robertson, Mellony Graven | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2020 | Published: 21 January 2021

About the author(s)

Tarryn S. Lovemore, South African Numeracy Chair Project, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Sally-Ann Robertson, South African Numeracy Chair Project, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Mellony Graven, South African Numeracy Chair Project, Faculty of Education, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Mathematics education is a significant issue in the South African context. Learners’ achievement levels are markedly low as suggested by both national and international studies. The teaching and learning of fractions in particular have been identified as challenging.

Aim: The aim of this article is to share some of the outcomes derived from a series of lessons in which aspects of music (note values) were integrated into the teaching of fractions in primary school.

Setting: The study was conducted in a Grade 5 class in an independent school in the Eastern Cape, with readily available resources at hand.

Methods: The broader study was an action research case study. It employed qualitative methods of data collection, based on cycles of critical reflection and adjustment, including feedback from learners and critical peers.

Results: Findings highlighted the value of integrating music and mathematics as a teaching and learning strategy. Learning support materials and activities that promoted curriculum integration were designed. The discussion highlights benefits of these integrated lessons.

Conclusion: We conclude by suggesting that teachers explore synergistic opportunities across mathematics and music as subjects. In particular, we suggest curriculum integration to support the teaching of fractions in the primary grades of schooling. Our hope is that this article will encourage teachers to develop their own integrated strategies for enriching their teaching of mathematics.


Keywords

Grade 5; curriculum integration; note values; Bresler’s co-equal cognitive style of arts integration; qualitative study; action research; multiple representations; motivation

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