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Academy Highlights | Session IV, Week 5

Grammar School Highlight | Youth Chorus With Mrs. Porter

Moving to the music is so natural. We have all felt the need to physically respond to the sound of compelling music. In the music class of the Grammar School at Donum Dei, we have prioritized movement this session. We have been seeking an embodied experience. To put it another way: we perform beautiful songs with our voices and bodies, feel the beat and rhythm inside us and respond physically. We reflect on the need for steadiness and coordination in our ensemble. We ask self-reflective questions like: “Did it match?” “Was it steady?” “Were we together?”

One specific experience from this Session that I would like to highlight is learning and performing the song “I’ve been to Harlem”. It is a beautiful and fun song built on the pentatonic scale. It captivates the imagination, gives the voice room to explore a nice octave range, and I think the students like it, too :-)

We do a fun dance while singing it which involves quite a lot of teamwork and choreography. The students start off in pairs, marching lightly in a circular promenade to the beat. When we get to the lyrics “over, over, three times over”, each pair of students raises grasped hands up above their heads and duck under their hands three times. It is challenging and causes varying degrees of consternation and giggling which means that we are in the zone of learning new things. My favorite part of this session at Donum Dei has been the opportunity to hold hands again and to enjoy the chance to keep the beat going by stepping in time with a partner. This is so simple and yet so profound, so intrinsically human. I love making music with the students at Donum Dei and learn things from them each time we get together. I am thankful that the Lord loves us and gave us music for the joy of our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Upper School Highlight | Algebra I With Mrs. Hamblen

“The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful." - Aristotle

We typically never think of art and mathematics as disciplines that could ever coexist. However, like Aristotle stated, the characteristics of many of the art pieces we regard as beautiful exude mathematical properties. In our Algebra I class this session, our students have been studying two particular functions: linear functions and quadratic functions. Lines, while infinite, exhibit order as they increase or decrease at a constant rate. And, are perfectly symmetrical and have upper and lower limits. So, in order to bring art and mathematics together, our class embarked on a project called, “Linear Equations Gone Wild.”

Students were tasked to create a drawing of an animal, of their choice, made out of at least 12 straight lines. I think having this constraint the students experienced some degree of “limitation!” Once they had created their picture, they then had to develop the equations that model each of their lines and define the line’s domain and range since these lines were actually a collection of line segments that defined their animal illustration.

Now that the animals have been drawn and we have the equations that we can follow to recreate the illustrations again, we will be creating a coloring book for Donum Dei’s TK-2nd grade classes in order to share the joy of art and mathematics!

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