Studying Bees: Using Music to Enliven Science, Literacy, Arabic, and Islamic Studies in a Grade 2 Saudi Arabian Classroom
Dr. Rena Upitis, FRSC; Maresa Donaldson

Grade 2 students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia took part in three transdisciplinary units during the 2018-2019 school year. This qualitative case study describes one of those units: an in-depth study that examined how bees are critical to the continued existence of life on earth. Music was present throughout the unit. To begin with, children sang and moved to a YouTube bee song, provided by one of the teachers as an online resource. As the unit progressed, the students enjoyed learning to write their own lyrics to known melodies, deepening their knowledge and expanding their vocabulary. Students also spontaneously produced lyrics and melody phrases as they became fully engrossed in the plight of bees. At the year-end school performance, the students produced a skit about a world without bees, embedding a song, half in English and half in Arabic, pleading with the audience to ―help us, don’t use any more pesticides…[because] bees are dying off, all around the world we’re losing them.‖ The paper demonstrates how music moved from a motivating add-on to a central part of the inquiry and how the entire unit continued to have positive effects, beyond the school context, after the school year ended.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v10n4a2