Bowling in music class? You bet! It may be your students' favorite music workstation! Read on to find out how to create the fun and functional workstation for your classroom.
I have several sets of bowling pins at my house. I know that sounds weird, but I've been working on and then perfecting a bowling workstation for several years. The set that I used in the pictures is a wooden set. It is a nice size and weight and the pins make a lovely sound when they fall down.
This set was on sale for 75% off when I picked it up. Music teacher WIN! I've picked up some at discount stores and yard sales too.
From experience with Layton Music's Music Yahtzee, I knew that putting a single eighth not or a dotted quarter note would up the difficulty of this game to the point where not all of my students would be able to play and successfully record their score. I decided to use notes that would not utilize fractions, or their mathematical brothers, decimals. I used quarter note, barred eighth notes, 4 sixteenth notes, half note, dotted half note and whole note. I drew one of these on each of the six pins. I used a permanent marker, but you could also use a paint pen.
I have a plastic set of pins. I used a white paint pen and a silver Sharpie to draw on the notes. They have held up quite well. Although you could store the pins in their original box or container, I haven't found a set that holds up well. I buy plastic storage containers and place everything in them.
Before introducing the game to students I spent some time practicing. (Turns out I'm a pathetic bowler!) I experimented with how far apart to place the pins and how far back I needed to stand to roll the boll. If the pins are too far apart, they won't all fall down even with a perfect throw. If they are too close together, they will all fall down every time. I ended up finding the perfect distance for my set of pins and marking their placement with a piece of masking tape, I also drew the note on the masking tape to help them set up as quickly as possible.
After much experimentation, I decided that my students needed to stand 4 floor tiles away from the pins. (That's somewhere between 4 and 5 feet.)
If you don't have a bowling set, you can create your own pins with 20 ounce soda or water bottles. You could even use empty 2-liter bottles. Spray paint them before drawing the notes on and add about a third of a bottle of beans or sand to steady them. Small Nerf balls would work great with these DIY pins.
To complete the workstation, I include a score sheet on a clipboard and a pencil. One version of the score sheet contains a "cheat sheet" and shows students the note value of each pin. The other version does not. My goal in using this workstation is to reinforce note values, so I don't mind if students use the score sheet with the references. They still gain practice in adding them all together.
You can download both of the sheets by clicking on the picture above or by clicking HERE. I hope that your students enjoy this activity!