Murphy Elementary: Penny Shultz & Gina Lee Robbins

How do we interact with waves and energy?

– Murphy Elementary, Teacher Penny Shultz and Teaching Artist Gina Lee Robbins

Murphy Shultzs Robbins 5.jpg

The energy transferred through waves can affect who we are and how we express ourselves.

Murphy Shultzs Robbins 8.jpg

We discussed exploring the concept of waves and energy through crafting ceramic sound-makers and instruments, as well as some 2 dimensional printmaking techniques.

Murphy Shultzs Robbins 9.jpg

Students constructed 3 different sound makers out of terra cotta clay. These included bells, wherein students made pinched bell forms and clappers, rattles, that involved making a hollow form by joining 2 pinch pots and filling it with clay beads, and hand drums made by joining slab and press-molded forms for the base, and then stretching a goat skin over the base after firing.

Shifting with the pandemic.

Murphy Shultzs Robbins 3.jpg

Just after finishing our instruments the school was closed due to pandemic. We were able to distribute the instruments to the students at home, and proceeded with the sharing and group exploration of the sound waves during online class meetings that the students attended from home. These included call and response, sound recording and rhythm pattern exploration projects.


Be flexible.

We discussed how we could share our sound explorations on a Zoom call without the interference that might be caused by connection variability, or background noise. 

We learned how to be flexible when unforeseeable obstacles get in the way. An exhibition of objects and video presentation of final group sound activities had to be reimagined and focused on sharing the work from a more process documentation, rather than results perspective.


We distributed the drums and rattles to students and spent one on-line class meeting sharing rhythm patterns that we developed with our instruments. We did this as a sort of call and response exercise to explore how we use sound waves to communicate and express ourselves: each student demonstrated their rhythm once, then repeated it so that the class could join in.


Share this: