A first grade class at Barkley Bridge Elementary School spends on-hands time in the school’s  outdoor classroom with music teacher Sherri Rahm. She is teaching them how to sound and recognize different notes on a glass Imbarimba in the music learning station. | Clif Knight
A first grade class at Barkley Bridge Elementary School spends on-hands time in the school’s outdoor classroom with music teacher Sherri Rahm. She is teaching them how to sound and recognize different notes on a glass Imbarimba in the music learning station. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Sweet sound of music

Published 3:56pm Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BBES outdoor classroom introduces sounds of music

When teachers at Barkley Bridge Elementary School began planning their outdoor classroom six years ago, they knew they wanted to use it to teach all subjects—not just science. Subsequently, learning stations were created for hand-on teaching of math, reading, science and social studies.

Music was not included initially but that has changed thanks to Sonoco Products, a partner in education.

The company recently purchased a Glass Imbarimba, a unique instrument styled after the classic xylophone, and had it installed in the southeast corner of the outdoor classroom.

It was purchased at a cost of over $3,300 and represents the first of several instruments that will be placed in the new music learning station.

“The students love it,” said music teacher Sherri Rahm. “They use it to improvise and make up their own kind of music. “ It’s an ideal compliment to the musical sounds we hear on any given day in our outdoor classroom environment.”

The Imbarimba can produce 22 notes simply by striking it with durable fiberglass bars that have been painted to resemble a wood finish. The bars are paired with a corresponding resonator made from PVC plastic pipe cut to specific lengths to produce different notes, The notes are arranged on an 1/2” Fiberglass frame and bound together using aircraft-grade steel braided cable that is both tamper resistant and contributes to the amazing sound of the instrument.

The BBES instrument is colored yellow and white.

“Our goal is to create an ensemble of musical instruments in the music station,” Rahm stated. “We want the students to look forward to come outside and have fun learning no matter what subject is being taught.”

Last year, Barkley Bridge’s outdoor classroom was certified through the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program, and the school’s outdoor classroom committee and teachers were recognized for their creativity in turning the outdoor classroom into a living laboratory where students can utilize all of their knowledge and skills in a fun, exciting environment.

Editor's Picks