Woodland students making music

Woodland fifth-graders make musical instruments out of recycled materials.

By: Joseph Harvie
   MONROE — The halls of Woodland School were alive with the sound of homemade music.
   But, these were no ordinary instruments, they were the type made from recycled materials such as tin cans, cardboard boxes and paper towel rolls, and they were being put to use by Judy Leonard’s fifth-grade students.
   "The lesson made the students use a lot of creativity, because they couldn’t buy anything for the project, they had to use items they could find at home," Ms. Leonard said.
   Students created guitars out of tissue boxes, rubber bands and paper towel rolls, and flutes out of paper towel rolls and wax paper. Michael Crocitto made two instruments, a drum out of a coffee can and a stylish maraca.
   "I made a maraca out of this tin and cut triangles out of construction paper, and held them in place with this tape. I filled it with rice and beans to make noise," Michael said.
   Ms. Leonard used the instruments as part of her lesson on sound.
   "We’ve only done one lesson on sound so far and they have absorbed so much from it," Ms. Leonard said.
   She said students also learned how sound waves are formed and how it travels.
   "We learned about how sound travels and that sounds vibrate," student Maria Exarchakis said. "We also learned that rarefactions are sound waves that are far apart and compressions are sound waves that are close together."
   "If there is no medium, then sound cannot travel," said student Jay Scully. "A medium is air, water or any matter."
   The students took their knowledge of sound and used it to create musical instruments to create sound themselves.
   Joseph Vionito, who plays drums in the school band, made a small scale drum set out of tin cans, and played them as if he were playing a larger kit.
   "I looked at my real drum set and pictured it made out of cans and everything else here," said Joseph.
   The students worked in groups and wrote songs about science and preformed them for Ms. Leonard, and Woodland Principal Victor Soriano on Wednesday.
   One group of students preformed an ode to science class, with a beatnik flare to it. Singer Ebony Jennings opened the song by repeating the phrase "Science is cool," while two classmates tooted away on homemade flutes and Mike shook his maraca and kept the beat with his coffee can drum. She also sang "Science is cool because it as a sound/it makes me boogie and touch the ground."
   A second group consisting of students Brittany Kenney, Maria, Dylan Henning, Michael Baumann and Shannon Vaivada, sang about what they learned. "Sound can be heard through matter/it travels from solids to liquids and don’t forget gasses," they sang.
   "Using the instruments they created made the lesson more valuable to them," Ms Leonard said. "Their pride was showing during the presentations."
   The instruments are now on display at the Monroe Township Public Library and will be there until the end of February.