Here’s a couple of ideas for working on rhythm in the music room, or practicing pattern recognition in math.
Special thanks to Shawn for finding this site; Step Re-mix. Using equal parts of STOMP and Flash video, the people over at Exploratorium.edu have created a great way to experiment with rhythm. Better suited for high school or middle school students, Step Re-mix provides short clips of an actual performer for you to place in any order you see fit. It also provides three different “tracks” or performers so you can have three rhythms playing at once to create a melody of sorts.
Cyber Pattern-Player, which can be found over at PBS Kids.org, it better suited for elementary learners. It uses a simple looping playback (much easier to hear the pattern than with Step-Remix) so you can change the rhythm in mid-melody. Using 6 instruments, it can be a bit difficult to establish a decent sounding rhythm, which is probably why it includes 4 preset “Funky Patterns” to listen to and re-mix if you like.
Beyond using these tools to engage students in a musical setting, I’ve used the Cyber Pattern-Player with elementary students to help work on pattern recognition. Once they get the hang of establishing their own repeating patterns it’s fun to have the students create a partial pattern and then let other students try to complete their pattern. These sites would also be useful for encouraging reluctant music or math learners to explore a concept that goes beyond the usual “clap rhythm” that many teachers use.