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Music Develops The Child Brain
Music has the ability to train our brain to a higher level of thinking – the type of thinking for problem solving, comparing and contrasting similarities and differences between objects, analysis, conclusion, synthesis and evaluation of information.
In recent research, it has been found that music can help develop human spatio-temporal reasoning ability. Spatial-temporal reasoning is the ability to perceive the visual world accurately and form mental images of objects. It is the ability of the mind to see in very detailed images and to recognize, compare and find relationships between patterns and details of an object. The temporal element involves a child’s ability to anticipate.
In learning music, you have to be able to play a note, then a series of notes, then a series of chords, and be able to anticipate the music and determine where and what will be played next.
Many studies and experiments have been conducted to prove the power of music on our brain. Here are the results of some research from recent years:
Research and Discovery 1:
In 1994, Drs Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher, scientists at the University of California at Irvin, conducted an experiment to discover the connection between spatial reasoning and music. They divided seventy beautiful students into three groups. Each group was given a cutting and folding task.
The first group had the opportunity to listen to ten minutes of Mozart’s Sonata in D for two pianos, K. 488. The second group heard ten minutes of minimalist (Philip Glass’s Music with Changing Parts) and rhythmically repetitive music ( Ian Rich’s C-Level Productions mix of Mortal Stomp and Carry Me Through). The third was the control group where the students did not listen to any piece of music.
The result was – there were no significant events with the second and third group. However, the students in the first group, who had listened to Mozart’s music, experienced an increase in their spatial IQ of eight to nine points in just ten minutes! Although the effect was temporary, scientists believed that a particular arrangement of elements in the music caused the spatio-temporal reasoning to improve. This phenomenon is now commonly referred to as the “Mozart Effect”.
Research and Discovery 2:
After the above experiment which showed that listening to music could cause an increase in spatio-temporal reasoning, scientists began to wonder if the effect could be prolonged by studying a musical instrument.
To find out the result, scientists conducted a test on thirty-three three-year-old preschoolers in Los Angeles. They choose three-year-olds because their brain cortices were still maturing and any effects of music education will be seen the most compared to a mature brain.
The children were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of 19 children who received eight months of keyboard and singing lessons. The remaining 14 children belonged to the control group which received no training. For the first group, their training consisted of a weekly private keyboard lesson of ten to fifteen minutes, daily practice periods, and a daily singing time of thirty minutes.
The children were tested after eight months later. They had to perform five tasks to test their spatial reasoning:
– arrange the pieces of a puzzle to form a complete picture
– matching pattern depicted using two-tone flat blocks
– place pegs of correct color in holes under a series of illustrated animals
– perform geometric design task
– describe what was “wrong” or “silly” in an image.
And here are the results:
The spatio-temporal reasoning of children in the control group only increases by 6%. However, the children in the group who received musical training showed a great improvement in their spatial-temporal reasoning by 46%!
Research and Discovery 3:
To confirm the results and conclusions of the above experiment, scientists conducted another test. This time they took another group of seventy-eight preschoolers and divided into four groups:
– The first group was made up of thirty-four students who received daily private piano lessons
– The second group consisted of twenty students. The children in this group received ten minutes of private computer training every day.
– The third group had 12 students who received singing training
– The last group was a control group where the children did not attend any form of lessons.
The children were tested after six months later and the results were:
Children in the first group had the most dramatic improvement in spatio-temporal reasoning – a 34% increase in performance!
Research and Discovery 4:
In 1998, scientists performed another experiment to find out how a computer math game called Spatial-Temporal Animation Reasoning (STAR) coupled with piano lessons or English language training affected students’ performance in math.
This experiment was conducted over a period of 4 months and the subjects were 170 second graders from an elementary school in Los Angeles.
The children were divided into 3 groups:
– Group 1 was made up of children who had studied the piano keyboard and the mathematical video game
– Group 2 consisted of children who received English language training and studied mathematical video games
– Group 3 was the control group who received no training.
After four months, a test was performed and the results were:
Children in groups 1 and 2 who received computer game training showed 100% improvement in their math skills compared to the control group. Additionally, students who received piano keyboard training with the math video game performed 27% better on questions related to fractions and proportional math than those who received English and math video game training. And finally, the teachers in the group also reported that children who studied piano key boarding demonstrated better attention and concentration skills!
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