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UNI project works to integrate arts into elementary school curriculum

January 31, 2011

Amy Hunzelman, director, education and special programs, GBPAC, 319-273-3679,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Educators have often said that integrating the arts into their curriculum creates a better learning environment. A new project at the University of Northern Iowa will use music to teach elementary students math.  "Musically Moving Math for Primary Teachers" is designed to provide professional development for integrating the arts into math classes to increase student understanding and achievement in math and movement.            

The project is funded through a grant from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As a leader in the development of arts education policy and programming, the Kennedy Center is committed to developing educational resources and programs to share with schools across the country.

Amy Hunzelman, director of education and special programs for the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center is leading the project. "We are thrilled to be able to provide training for teachers, classroom demonstrations, and reflection opportunities for teachers to debrief what they observed with Marcia Daft, the Kennedy Center teaching artist," says Hunzelman. "The Gallagher-Bluedorn has a history of successful partnerships with Waterloo Schools and the Kennedy Center since 2003."

Teachers involved with the project are pleased with the results. They find the use of music during math instruction keeps students actively engaged and thinking at higher levels.

"Musically Moving Math has provided primary teachers with classroom instruction that promotes reasoning," said Sherice Ortman, gifted resource teacher with the Waterloo Schools. "Students are fully engaged in developing conceptual knowledge, which is essential in understanding foundational math."

For more information, contact Hunzelman at 319-273-3679.