William Becker

Date of Award

Summer 8-19-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in General Science


Science Teaching

Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 70 pages)


Music in education -- Case studies, Geometry -- Remedial teaching -- Case studies, Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary) -- Case studies, Computer-assisted instruction, Teaching -- Methodology




The purpose of this research was to test a strategy which uses music-related concepts to teach math. A quasi-experimental study of two high school remedial geometry sections was conducted during a review lesson of ratio, proportion, and cross multiplication. A pretest was given to both groups. Then, Group A received normal textbook instruction while Group B received the treatment, Get the Math in Music, which is an online activity involving proportional reasoning in a music-related context. Afterwards, a posttest was given to both groups. Pretest and posttest scores were used to compare gains in subject knowledge between the groups. Then a second evaluation of the treatment was conducted. Group A received the treatment and took a post-posttest. Score gains for Group A before and after receiving the treatment were compared. After these tests, all participants took a survey to determine if their appreciation of math grew as a result of the treatment. Finally, interviews were conducted to provide better understanding of the results. The research questions of this study were: to what extent does the integration of Get the Math in Music improve students' academic performance in a remedial geometry review of ratio, proportion, and cross multiplication, and to what extent does participation in the Get the Math activity improve students' attitudes towards math? My hypotheses were that students would perform significantly better on a subject knowledge test after receiving the treatment, and that all students would have a more positive attitude towards math after receiving the treatment. Quantitative results did not triangulate to support or refute these hypotheses. Greater improvement from pretest to posttest was statistically correlated with Group B, which was the group first receiving the treatment. But later, between posttest and post-posttest Group A did not show statistically significant greater gains after receiving the treatment. Surveys results showed that students did not necessarily like math any more after the treatment. Interviews revealed that several of these students were apathetic to geometry in particular, if not to math in general. The case of one student's improvement suggested that positive teacher-student relationships are more effective than any particular method to increase academic performance and student engagement. Survey results were consistent with earlier psychological studies claiming teenagers care about music. Additional studies in the future on the merits of using music to teach high school math would be useful. Claims that proportional reasoning is challenging were supported. It would be beneficial to evaluate the treatment in an Algebra or Pre-Algebra setting when students first study proportions.

Persistent Identifier