African Drumming

Drumming Up Art, History and Language Arts Lessons in Middle School

On Thursday, the 5th graders took a field trip to The Sheldon and the St. Louis Science Center to dive into art, history and science. As part of their fine arts experience, students were drawn into the music of various parts of western Africa by Afriky Lolo and his African drummers. They were entertained and impressed by two members of his group who had been dancing and drumming for the last seven years, an eleven-year-old girl, who danced, and her brother who played the drums. Later in the program, students were called onto the stage to learn the dance and perform for the audience, followed by the teachers, which highly impressed the young audience. One student said, “This whole day was worth it just to see the teachers dance!” In this video, watch 5th grader Siva R. ’27 as he performed with the drummers on stage.

After the program at The Sheldon, the students had lunch at the Science Center before they entered the ancient city of Pompeii. In preparation for the exhibition, students in history and language arts combined forces to race around Pompeii in an effort to save as many citizens and artifacts as possible. Students were engaged in a gamified lesson where they had to complete eight tasks, such as using Lego to build the layers of a volcano, using Artifical Reality (AR) to view artifacts, creating signs to warn the public of the impending disaster and creating first-hand accounts of the moments just before disaster struck. Armed with this knowledge, students viewed the many artifacts and human casts in the Pompeii Exhibit. It brought to life what they had been working on the last few days in history and language arts, and also in science, where they have been studying plate tectonics. It demonstrated the impact that nature can have on civilization.