Musical playground Focus Questions

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Musical playground
Focus Questions

  1. W
    Episode 34

    23rd november 2010

    Learning Area

    The Arts

    Key learning

    Students will investigate a range of percussion instruments and how they are played.

    hat materials were used to make the musical playground?

  2. What instruments did they make?

  3. How are percussion instruments played?

  4. What does the word `percussion’ mean?

  5. Why is the musical playground unique?

  6. What types of music are students learning to write and play?

  7. How is the musical playground being used in other subject areas?

  8. What skills are needed to play the instruments?

  9. How is the musical playground encouraging more kids to learn music?

  10. How did this story make you feel?

    Musical playground

Students will explore percussion instruments in more detail.

Begin by asking students to look at the words below. With a partner, recall how they were used in the BtN story and illustrate each word.

percussion musical playground

innovation award classical reggae


Students can choose one or more of the following activities:

Create a rhythmic pattern using body percussion (clapping, whistling, stomping feet). Perform the pattern to a small group or class.

Investigate how high and low notes are produced on percussion instruments (what happens when vibrations get faster and slower?)

Working with other students, design your own musical playground using recycled materials. Think about how the instruments can be incorporated into the existing school playground.

Create a hand held percussion instrument. The following websites may help Teach a friend to play the instrument.

Choose one of the following percussion instruments and write a short description (including history/culture, how it’s played, the sound it makes) and illustrate it.
Xylophone, marimba, conga, djembe, timpani, maracas, agogo bells, castanets.

Make a quiz or crossword about percussion instruments. Give it to another student to try.

8 Related Research Links

Northumberland Orchestra – Percussion instruments
Thinkquest – Percussion
Classics for Kids – Percussion family
Online Schools – How does a piano work?

Rocking harpist

  1. Why did Sylvia first start playing the harp?

  2. Why can playing the harp be challenging?

  3. What sort of music does Sylvia prefer to play?

  4. Why was it difficult for Sylvia to find a harp?

  5. How did her Dad solve the problem?

  6. What did it inspire Sylvia to do?

  7. How did Sylvia’s ability to play the harp help her design a harp?

  8. What is Sylvia going to do with the finished harp?

  9. What are three things about the harp that you learnt from the BtN story?

  10. How did this story make you feel?

Use the internet to find out more about how musical instruments are made.

ABC Stateline – Heavenly Harps

TAFE SA – Knocking on wood

Harps and harps – Harp info

Hip hop stories

Focus Questions

  1. R
    Episode 17
    24th june 2008

    Learning Area

    Society and Environment

    Key learning

    Students will develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous hip hop music as a way of continuing culture and language.

    etell the story in your own words.

  2. Why is storytelling important for Indigenous cultures?

  3. What is the Indigenous community in Yuendamu using to tell their stories?

  4. What is the Wakakirri Festival?

  5. Why are they trying to keep traditional Indigenous languages alive?

  6. How many Indigenous languages are there?

  7. Why is it important for young Indigenous people to have the opportunity to express themselves?

  8. Some people believe that hip hop is American and doesn’t have much to do with Indigenous culture. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

  9. Why do you think young Indigenous people identify with hip hop?

  10. Predict what might happen if Indigenous storytelling doesn’t continue?

Modern day corroboree

Students will be exploring what hip hop music is, how it has influenced Indigenous Australians and why it’s important for them to be able to tell their story. Begin with a partner brainstorm asking students to write down what they know about hip hop music and how Indigenous people are using it to tell stories. From the brainstorming session, ask students to record any questions they have or topics they would like to know more about. Some possible topics for inquiry include:

Find out more about the elements of hip hop – beat boxing, MCing or rapping, and breakdancing.

Choose an Indigenous hip hop artist and create a profile of them. What elements of hip hop are they using? What stories are they telling?

Compare Australian hip hop to American hip hop. What are the similarities and differences?

Ask students to present the findings of their topic/s for inquiry with the rest of the class. Some ways to present information include:

Develop a video or PowerPoint slide presentation

Give an oral presentation

Use words and rhythm to present the topic

Conduct an interview/radio program

Reflecting on learning

What do you understand more clearly from this inquiry?

What are some things you would do the same in your next inquiry, and what are some things your might do differently?

Further investigations

Create a rap that reflects your own identity or tells a story.

Design a poster advertising an Indigenous Hip Hop artist.

8 Related Research Links

ABC Stateline – Yuendumu hip hop story

ABC Australia Wide – Wakakirri story telling festival in Yuendumu – video link

Wakakirri website

Time for kids – information about rap and hip hop,28285,197419,00.html

Aboriginal language hip hop

Aerosol Art

Focus Questions

  1. W
    Episode 14
    3rd june 2008

    Learning Area

    Society and Environment

    Key learning

    Students will develop an understanding of graffiti as an art form and the social and political influences on graffiti culture

    hat is graffiti?

  2. Why is graffiti against the law?

  3. How has some graffiti become an art form?

  4. Why are some authorities starting to work with graffiti artists?

  5. Describe the Aerosol Art project.

  6. How is the art being created different to the `tags’ that were on the bridge before the project began?

  7. How is the council saving money with this project?

  8. How do you think projects like these affect people’s opinions about graffiti?

  9. Do you think graffiti is art or vandalism? Explain your answer.
  10. How has your thinking about graffiti changed after watching the BtN story?

Graffiti – Public art or nuisance?

Begin the lesson by showing students examples of graffiti. The web links at the end of this activity sheet have a range of images to choose from. Ask students to record their impressions and whether they believe it is art or not. Discuss with the class similarities and differences between public art such as sculptures and murals, and graffiti. Students can then find out more about graffiti art by exploring one or more of the following questions:

Why did graffiti culture develop?

What are the historical, social and political factors that influence graffiti artists?

What are the links between Hip Hop culture and graffiti art?

How do music, graffiti, dance and fashion interact?

How has graffiti art in Australia developed?

Ask students to share what they have learnt with the rest of the class. How have their understanding and perceptions of graffiti changed? Why did they change?

Students can have a go at creating graffiti art online at one of the following websites: or Alternatively, students can use a stretched canvas to create a graffiti style artwork. Display artwork around the classroom or school.

Further investigations

Create a class mural in the school with the visual arts teacher or artist in residence. Encourage students to create artwork that reflects their own identity.

Find out more about subway artist Keith Haring at the following website

Make up a role play based on the topic `Graffiti – art or vandalism?’ Different points of view could include graffiti artist, community member and police officer.

8 Related Research Links

ABC News – Police hand out spray cans to curb graffiti

ABC Stateline – How to beat graffiti

CBBC – Graffiti facts

CBBC – Kids taught graffiti to stop street crime

Keith Haring website for kids

Art crimes – Graffiti photos and images

Online graffiti creator

Graffiti gallery from Kiev

Classroom drama

  1. Discuss the main points raised in the Classroom drama story with another student.

  2. What is the aim of the new drama program being taught in some schools?

  3. Which theatre company do Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton work for?

  4. Which well known film was Cate in?

  5. How do kids benefit from working with professional actors?

  6. Why do you think the students are `more engaged in learning’?

  7. Which subjects could drama be used to teach?

  8. Do you think it’s a good idea to use drama to teach other subjects? Explain your answer.

  9. Why do you like doing drama?

  10. What was surprising about this story?


  1. What did the BtN story mainly explain?

  2. How do the singers warm up their voices?

  3. What sorts of stories are told through opera?

  4. What is the name of the opera singer with the deepest voice?
  5. What is the highest voice called?

  6. Why don’t young people sing opera?

  7. Usually, they sing in _____________ until their voice matures.

  8. Why is it important for opera singers to project their voices to the back of the theatre?

  9. Why do opera singers also need to be good actors?

  10. What was surprising about this story?

Create a multiple choice opera quiz using facts from the BtN story.

Music maestro

Episode 15

7th june 2011

Learning Area


Key learning

Students will develop a deeper understanding of the instruments in an orchestra and the job of a conductor.

ocus Questions

  1. Briefly summarise the BtN story.

  2. Describe the job of a conductor.

  3. Which one does a conductor hold?

    a) Baton

    b) Violin

    c) Pen

  1. What sorts of things does the conductor control?

  2. Many conductors know how to play lots of the instruments in the orchestra. True or false?

  3. Why do conductors need to have a good `ear’?

  4. What advice did Andrew give Tash about conducting?

  5. Andrew describes the baton as `an extension of your __________’.

  6. Describe some of the challenges of conducting.

  7. What do you now know about conducting since watching the BtN story?


Watch the Music maestro story and record 8 key words used by the reporter in the table below.

Use the words to:

  • Reconstruct the story

  • Create an illustrated glossary about orchestras/conductors

  • Create a true or false quiz using facts from the story

Students can choose one or more of the following activities to complete:

What are the four families of instruments in a modern orchestra? Give examples of instruments from each family. What are the unique characteristics of each family? Listen to the different parts of the orchestra at the following website

Research the role of the conductor of an orchestra. How does the conductor work with the orchestra? What skills and knowledge do conductors need to have to perform their job?

Listen to the interview with young conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson . What was interesting or surprising about the interview? Think of three questions you would like to ask a conductor.

What is meant by the following musical terms; tempo, forte, pitch, dynamics, phrasing and maestro? Share the meanings for the words to the class or a small group.

Use a Venn diagram (two overlapping circles) to compare orchestral/classical music and contemporary music. Venn diagrams show aspects of similarity in the overlapping circle and aspects of difference in the separate sections of the circles.

Research a famous conductor and create a profile of their life.

8 Related Research Links

ABC 730 Tasmania – Conductor Masterclass

ABC Behind the News – Youth Orchestra
Library Thinkquest – Interactive guide to a symphony orchestra
Classics for kids – Fun and Games

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