Building the Xylophone February 21st PD

The Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) program held their second Professional Development (PD) for this academic semester, for the module Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music. The PD was held Saturday, February 21st 2015 with thirty-six instructors from twenty-eight sites in attendance. In adittion we had a guest speaker, Linda Keane, from and Yahvi Pichardo from Rush Hour Music participating in the PD.

Several SfT student leaders from Columbia College Chicago attended the PD to document the event and help the instructors. Jose Perez and Martin Bayang, both Film majors and SFT videographers, took video of the PD to produce tutorials needed as a resource tool for instructors. Maria Dantas, a first year photography student took photos of the PD, while  Filip Zadro and Tyler Davis, both Audio majors and SfT instructors at Shields Middle School, participated in guiding instructors during the building process of the xylophone.  Daniela Cortes, a Film student was also in attendance, working side by side as the associate coordinator for the program  with Evelyn Oropeza and Marcelo Caplan.

Marcelo, associate professor in the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago and co-founder of Scientists for Tomorrow, began the PD at 9:00am by explaining the mathematics behind the construction of the wind chimes that were built during the last PD. Marcelo then moved along to the main lesson: the building of the xylophone. Instructors began the construction process at 11:00am, teaming up into groups of five to efficiently complete the xylophone on time.

There was a break halfway through the construction for a presentation on www. given by Linda Keane, the creator of the website. Linda explained how her website explores digital media by leading students on a journey through across the board activities such as nanotechnology, architecture and ecology. The website is offered as a tool for instructors to guide students through the “five goals of environmental education:  Awareness, Knowledge, Attitudes and Environmental Ethic, Citizen Action Skills and Citizen Action Experiences.”

After Linda’s presentation, instructors continued to work on their xylophones. Many instructors who have been through the Physics of Sound and Mathematics of Music module before finished early and proceeded to help other participants who were still working. Some instructors finished constructing their xylophones as early as 12:30pm while others took the full four hours to complete theirs.

The PD ended at 2:00pm as intended. The SFT team will follow up the PD by sharing the Activity Journal folders with those who did not have access to the file and with new instructors. For more information on how you can get involved visit