Working Title of Project: CP Physics Students Got the Beat
Funding Source: Toyota Tapestry Grant Program
Rationale for Project: Upper-level Physical Science classes, particularly College Prep-level Physics, have suffered a declining enrollment in my school district in the last five years. Students tend to view Physics as “boring” and “too hard” and have been drawn toward classes that they perceive as more fun and trendy such as Forensics and Anatomy/Physiology. Given the recent interest in increasing student participation in STEM classes, it’s important to reverse this trend. One way to do this is to tap into students’ extracurricular interests such as music.
Goals for the Project: By the end of the project, students will design, build and analyze, using computer software, a working Cajón drum. (Possibly: student drums could be used by the school orchestra in a performance)
Non-technical Explanation of Project: A cajón drum is a native Peruvian instrument similar to a bongo drum that is used primarily in Cuban and coastal Peruvian music. Using their knowledge of the mathematics of music, students will use a commercial software design program (SolidWorks) to design a drum that will play a specific note.
Location of Project: Washington Township High School (Sewell, NJ) Possibly: Rowan University Engineering Building (Glassboro, NJ)
Project Timeframe: 1 marking period
Planned Activities: SolidWorks tutorial; Lesson/Guest Lecture: Mathematics of Music; design of drum; building of drum; performance
Key Staff Members: Washington Township High School – Aileen Constans, Shannon Hornibrook (CP Physics teachers) – teach Mathematics of Music, oversee final projects; Rowan University – Eric Constans (Assoc. Professor, Mechanical Engineering) and possibly one graduate or undergraduate student – for SolidWorks training and technical support, and use of acoustic analysis equipment for evaluating final projects.
Leveraging/Cost Sharing: not applicable
Budget elements: computers, SolidWorks software and license, budget for cajón construction supplies, possible budget for bus to take students to Rowan for field trip
Ballpark Budget Estimate: around $10,000 (primarily for purchase of new computers)
Evaluation Plan: To demonstrate mastery of concepts, students will write a detailed lab report about the design, building, and testing of their drum. Students will use Vernier LabPro to evaluate the performance of their drum, and they will be graded based on how well their drum is tuned. Effectiveness of project will be evaluated via a survey of students at the end of the project.
Outside Partners: Rowan University Department of Mechanical Engineering
Plan for Sustainability: Computers can be used until obsolete. SolidWorks license will be purchased and renewed by school if possible. Wood and other supplies for completing drum can either be budgeted for in the WTHS Science Department budget, or funds can be sought through school district mini-grants.
Other Possible Sources of Funding: NSF