Cigar Box Guitar Odyssey

Academic Enrichment Grant

 2016-2017 Project Summary

Victoria Rudolph

College Park Elementary • Gautier, MS

Inspired by the Maker Movement, Cigar Box Guitar Odyssey is designed to take fourth-grade gifted students on a cultural journey. Intense student engagement and self-directed learning will keep students excited as they researching the Delta origin of the Blues, learn principles of acoustics, apply physics of sound, and utilize math process skills. All of these efforts will be integrated to support students in creating their own functional piece of folk art: a cigar box guitar. In doing this, the students will demonstrate advanced depth of knowledge as they work out non-routine problems and extend their reasoning to investigate and experiment with varied solutions.

Planned activities include applying knowledge of acoustics and sound physics; analyzing the creative process used by musicians to design the cigar box guitar using the SCAMPER Thinking Skill Process, studying local artists, using primary and secondary sources to gather pertinent information from American, and specifically Mississippi History, and presenting their findings. Although the Cigar Box Guitar Odyssey is based on the standards of the gifted program, it links strongly to the fourth grade regular classroom curriculum across all subjects. Students will extend their learning by creating a project for their Mississippi History studies in the regular classroom. Enabling the students to explore simple machines, precise measurement, and acoustics will give them an opportunity to take the knowledge they have learned in the regular classroom to a level of deeper understanding.

As they complete their own guitars, each child will research the history behind their product and of the Blues music form: the foundation of American music, which originated here in Mississippi. The experience will be extended with a field trip to the Cigar Box Guitar Festival in New Orleans and a presentation that will connect the gifted program to the school at large. This project along side existing maker activities in the gifted program will instill confidence of understanding the world; where we have come from and where we are going. It reconciles the analog with the digital and incorporates art with science.

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