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Musical Ancestries: Central America Lesson Prompts

Musical Ancestries™: Central America

Each Musical Ancestries episode, through the audio story and Prezi resources, provides a wealth of materials for teachers and parents to use at their discretion.  Shape the activity/lesson as you wish. Use bits and pieces of the resources as they fit into your plan or create something new. This is NOT a checklist of activities that must be followed or a curriculum that dictates how you use the resources.  The Prezi materials have been vetted for accuracy, authenticity, and child appropriateness so you don’t have to spend time doing so.

Students learn in various ways.  Some may benefit more from the story format and adventure and others from independent research. Some students need to see it, some need to hear it, some need to do it. We encourage you to use the audio story and Prezi resources to address the differing learning styles in your classroom.

     Lesson Prompts/Idea Board

Start Here

  • Preview Radio Broadcast Story/Audio Recording, Script, and/or Prezi of educational resources

Children’s Radio Story/Audio Recording

  • Play all or part of the Musical Ancestries: Central America/Audio Recording for the students
    1. Prep students for the story/audio recording by introducing select instruments and styles of music through the Prezi. Include vocabulary words/music terms.
    2. As students listen to the story/audio recording, have them follow along with the Listening Map or create a listening map of their own.
    3. As students are listening to the audio story, project the script and have them follow along. You can also project photos from the Prezi of instruments and other images of note.
    4. After the listening exercise, ask students to write or talk about their choice of music, instruments, country, or traditions incorporating some of the vocabulary words/music terms learned.

Prezi Educational Resources

  • Delve deeper with your choice of materials and resources from the Prezi presentation.
    1. Play music samples. Compare and contrast musical elements. What is the same and what is different?
    2. Play “drop the needle” with music from the Prezi or audio recording. Have students try to identify the country/region, the style or instruments based on the selected music samples. This could be across MA episodes, as well.
    3. Use the directional arrows to reveal the Mayan music instruments in the cave drawing. (Find this In the Prezi: Central America>Belize>Mayans>Music)
    4. The didgeridoo is from Australia, and the Mayan trumpet is from Central America-practically the other side of the globe. How did these two different cultures, which live so far apart from each other, end up with such similar instruments? (Find this In the Prezi: Central America>Belize>Mayans>Music>Trumpets>See It>Extend Your Thinking)
    5. The Garifuna people are well-known for a particular type of drum. Name a drum in our cultural that is similar to it. (Find this In the Prezi: Central America>Belize>Garifuna People>Garifuna Drumming>See It>Pop Quiz)
    6. Take the Garifuna Drumming Lesson. Can you stay on your part when the whole group gets going? (Find this In the Prezi: Central America>Belize>Garifuna People>Garifuna Drumming>Do It)
    7. Use the directional arrows to reveal some music instruments you will see and hear in Garifuna music. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Honduras>Music>See It)
    8. What is the difference between the marimba of Nicaragua and the one used in the U.S.? (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Nicaragua>Marimba>See It)
    9. Explore a different way of playing an instrument you know and explain your method. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Nicaragua>Marimba>Extend Your Thinking)
    10. Use the directional arrows to reveal the names of music instruments from Panama. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Panama>Folk Music>Instruments)
  • BASIC MUSIC THEORY: Music for xuc is written in 2/4 time. Compare a Xuc rhythm in 2/4 time to 4/4 time. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>El Salvador>Xuc>Do It)
  • HISTORY: Learn about centuries and years. Practice going from years to century and century to years. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Overview>Centuries Old Issue)
  • DANCE: Learn how to dance in Punta style. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Honduras>Music>Hear It)
  • Have a SCAVENGER HUNT through this episode or across other MA episodes. Keep it simple, not too detailed. Let the students explore.
    1. Find the string, wind, or percussion instruments
    2. Find the local musicians or organizations
    3. Find the dances and celebrations/festivals
    4. Find the traditional foods
    1. How did you hear that? Simple Sound Science for Kids. Very simple and fun sound science experiments for very young kids. 2. Explore how simple items make sounds. (Find these in the Prezi: Central America>Guatemala>Marimba>Do It)
    2. See how an accordion is made. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>El Salvador>Zafacaite>See It)
  • FOOD SCIENCE: Watch the video on Cassava Bread Making. (Find this In the Prezi: Central America>Belize>Garifuna People>Cassava Bread)
  • ELA (English Language Arts: Discussion/Journaling Points
    1. Review the section on Alfrombras and consider if art creates culture or culture creates art. (Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Guatemala>Alfrombras>Extend Your Thinking)
    2. Think of a way you can honor cultures that are not like yours in your school or community. Create a plan. Present your idea to a leader in your school or community. Find this in the Prezi: Central America>Costa Rica>Carnivals and Festivals>Limon Carnival>Dia de las Culturas>Extend Your Thinking)
    1. On what continent will you find this country?
    2. Where is this country/region in relation to the USA?
    3. Compare the climate or seasons in this country or region with a similar climate/season in the U.S.
    4. Does a country’s position on the globe impact its climate or seasons?
  • THEATER: Assign parts and allow students to read/act out the story.
    1. There can be two or three sets of cast members to include more students.
    2. Have students plan what the scenes might be and the stage set-up. Draw a picture or make a diorama or do the real thing.
    3. Create accompanying music similar to that of the audio recording using class instruments or use music from Prezi samples.

National Music Standards addressed: