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Tickling in My Ears

Tickling in My Ears

Unit Summary

The strength of a music lesson lies in the ability of the pupils to transfer knowledge into practice whereas for Science, it is applying knowledge into real-life situations. Therefore this project focuses on the practical aspects specifically gaining skills for music, and application of knowledge in everyday life for Science.

Pupils play the role of Music Education Officers from the Education Department to cultivate music literacy in students, teachers and parents as well as to enable them to realize the important role that sounds play in everyday situations.

This project is specially designed to incorporate project-based learning in weekly lesson with planned practical training and a field trip to a teachers training institute. They will be interviewing a music personnel and record a formal music lesson.

Based on the collected information via field trip, Internet, and other resources, pupils will produce the following products:

As a concluding activity, all the products and skills acquired will be showcased during the school monthly assembly. All the products will be uploaded to the school’s website to allow comments from parents. All the products and skills acquired will be evaluated using assessment rubrics and practical task sheets.

Curriculum-Framing Questions 

  • Essential Question 
    Do you like your ears be tickled?
  • Unit Questions 
    What are the sounds of life?
    How can pitch levels be used in our lives?
    How can you produce different pitch levels?
  • Content Questions
    What are the sounds that soothe you?
    What are the sounds that irritate you?
    What is pitch?
    What is Curwen hand signs?
    How does the hand sign position change with pitch level?
    What are the household objects that can produce high/intermediate/low pitch level?
    What are the sounds that have specific purposes in our lives?
    How do you sing a chosen folk song using solfege and hand signs?
    How do you create rhymes using different pitch levels?

Assessment Processes

The assessment starts with a session where the pupils will be hearing some sounds clips. Brainstorming session is done to access their prior knowledge on sounds with different pitch levels.  Further discussion is done to channel pupils towards thinking about the different and significant use of sounds around them. Questioning using the Curriculum-Framing Questions helps pupils develop their higher-order thinking skills and sparks discussion throughout the unit.

Blog on “a musical day in IPIK” is used to document pupils’ understanding, thinking and experience. Rubrics are used to guide students’ learning, help them stay on track, and self-assess their products. Pupil-teacher discussion will provide pupils with the opportunity to revise and edit their work before turning in the final products. The same rubrics are used to assess and grade the final project. Pupils use “Think Tank Blog “ to reflect on their learning experiences and justify the skills and knowledge that they have learnt or acquired through the project. Practical task sheets and rubrics are used accordingly to evaluate the acquired skills during practical sessions.

Before project begins

  • Brainstorming
  • Questioning

During project work / tasks

After project is completed

Instructional Procedures

Introduction of the Unit (Week 1)
Teacher starts the project by posing the essential question: “Do you like your ears be tickled?” Encourage pupils to reflect on this question keeping various fields in mind. In small groups, have pupils discuss what this question means to them.  Allow students to discuss their ideas in the context of their own lives and the world around them. Accept all possible answers that they have through classroom discussion. Inform pupils that you are going to tickle their ears and make them smile. Teacher plays the video clip of the baby laughing. Pupils suggest other ways of tickling their ears.  Teacher will lead the pupils to give answers that relate to different type of sounds.  Introduce the project entitiled “Tickling In My Ears”. Pupils will be informed about the details of the project.

Field Trip: A Musical Day In IPIK (Week 2)
Before the field trip:

  • Pupils will be briefed on the information that they need to gather from the teacher college-IPIK based on:
    • Interview with a music personnel
    • A formal music lesson
  • Teacher demonstrates interview techniques and discuss the importance of being courteous when collecting information from the public
  • Scope of the field trip
    • Definition of pitch
    • Curwen hand signs (zip)
    • Application of Curven hand signs
    • Environmental sound
  • Brief pupils about the products they need to produce from the information gathered.

During the field trip:

  • Pupils interview a music personnel
  • Pupils record a formal practical music lesson
  • Record a session of choir practice by the teacher trainees.
  • Take pictures to record their experience in IPIK

After the field trip:

  • Pupils will be given “A Musical Day In IPIK (xls)” rubric as a guideline
  • In groups, pupils will organize the digital information gathered in the specified computer lab.
  • Pupils are given 2 weeks to publish their blogs in the web.

Pitch Paradise Brochure- Part 1 (Week 3)

  • Begin the class with the Unit Question – How can pitch levels be used in our lives?
  • Pupils are introduced to various pitch levels using the Kodaly method (zip).
  • Pupils are taught to sing according to a singing sequence
    1. so-mi
    2. la-so-mi
    3. mi-re-do
    4. la-so-mi-re-do
  • Pupils watch a video presentation of different Curwen hand signs.
  • Pupils will imitate the Curwen hand signs and sing along various solfege sung earlier with teacher’s guidance.
  • Teacher will assess pupils’ understanding of different pitch using hand signs.
  • After the singing lesson, pupils are reminded of their roles and to create a brochure that will be able to address these questions:
           √  What is pitch?
           √  What are Curwen hand signs?
           √  How does the hand sign position change with pitch level?
           √  How do you sing a chosen folk song using solfege and hand signs?
           √  How do you create rhymes using different pitch levels?
  • Hold a discussion on other effective ways to gather information besides the field trip in IPIK.
  • Pupils brainstorm a list of ways to collect information and to find answers to the questions.
  • Encourage pupils to collect more information on musical pitch. Provide students with a list of websites, which are relevant to the topic.
  • Provide the brochure rubric and discuss each criterion in detail.
    • Pupils write solfege based on the hand signs given in the practical task sheet  (doc)
    • Teacher sings the different pitch levels and pupils identify them using hand signs

The Sounds of Life Multimedia Presentation

  • In small groups, pupils are required to bring with them objects from their surroundings and relate various kinds of sounds produced by the objects.
  • Pupils in each group are required to compare and contrast the levels of pitch for example high, middle and low and take pictures of the objects for each category.
  • Pupils need to create musical instruments using used household items that will produce sound with different pitch levels and record the practical session.
  • Distribute the multimedia presentation planning template (ppt) and rubric (xls) to each group and explain the important information that needs to be included.
  • The multimedia presentation should address the following questions:
           √  What are the sounds that irritate you?
           √  What are the sounds that soothe you
           √  What are the household objects that can produce high/intermediate/low pitch level?
           √  What are the sounds that have specific purposes in our lives?

Pitch Paradise Brochure- Part 2 (Week 4)

  • Teacher relates the various pitch learnt to a xylophone.
  • Pupils transfer their knowledge by applying the learning procedure with pitched percussion instruments.
        Example :
            I   am  walk - ing  up  the  high  hill
            Do re  me      fa   so   la    ti      do

            I  am  slid - ing  down  the  steep  hill
            Do ti   la     so   fa       me  re       do
  • Each group is given a xylophone and they need to create their own rhyme which ascend and descend with the sound of the xylophone.
  • Pupils will have to complete their brochure to answer these questions
           √  How do you sing a chosen folk song using solfege and hand signs?
           √  How do you create rhymes using different pitch levels?

Think Tank Reflection Blog (Week 5)

  • Discuss with the pupils what they have learnt in this project. Focus the discussion on the contributions made by learning music the proper way and how it changes their perception on music.
  • Pupils will be creating their own blogs to summarize their experiences in this project
  • Distribute the reflection rubric (xls)
  • Pupils are given 1 week to complete their blogs

Concluding Activity

Prerequisite Skills

  • Basic knowledge of sounds
  • Fundamental skills of basic computer operations and Internet research
  • Ability to use word processing, presentation and web application

Differentiated Instruction

Special Needs Students

  • Repeat instructions verbally and in writing
  • Check for understanding
  • Allow extra time for assignment completion
  • Allow extra time for research
  • Get support from specialist educators, parents, or peer tutors
  • Provide visual aids
  • Provide support during tasks that require reading
  • Frequent meetings for further guidance

Gifted Student

  • Opportunity to include additional information
  • Emphasize group learning skills and development
  • Focus on problem solving skills and creative aspects
  • Focus on inductive and deductive reasoning
  • Play the role as group leaders
  • Help the resource students in their groups.

Non-native Speakers

  • Allow the use of some resources in the student’s first language
  • Provide suggested resources that are at an appropriate reading level
  • Allow the student to work with other bilingual students
  • Pair the student with a bilingual peer who has greater English fluency
  • Use visual aids
  • Allow extra time for work


The team members that put this project idea together were Lim Siew Geck, Nazifah Shaik Ismail and Edna Wellington. Other teachers expanded on the initial idea as developed here.

Tickling in My Ears

At a Glance

Year/Form: Year 4 
Subject(s): Music Education, Science
Topics: Tickling in My Ears
Key Learnings:  
Musical skills and application in everyday life.
Time Needed:
5 weeks