Category Archives: homework

“Seeing” Music: How Synesthesia is Viewed by an Artist

I recently gave my wonderful grade seven students an assignment, titled “Science in the News” (click the link to take a look at the assignment), where they are asked to find a current event article and complete a written, visual and oral component to the article.  I wont go into details on what each component is, but I will demonstrate some examples that I came up with this week to model how this assignment might look.  So… here is article number one I would like to share.

© 2014 by Melissa S. McCracken

VISUAL COMPONENT: Here is the mini-movie I made about the article.


TOPIC – The topic of the article is human anatomy, more specifically the human brain.  The topic could also be under biology.

TITLE: The title of the article is “Here’s How an Artist with Synesthesia ‘Sees’ Famous Songs”

ARTICLE SOURCE: The article was found on the website


Synesthesia – a rare neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory pathway (such as sound) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second pathway (such as sight).  An artist who has synesthesia is able to not only hear music but can see or visualize the music as well.  Synesthesia is a very rare neurological condition.

Neurological: referring to the nervous system of the human body.  There are many different neurological diseases that can affect the human brain, such as Alzheimers.

Stimuli: something in the environment that causes us to react.The balloon popped and we all jumped.  In that scenario, the popping balloon was the stimulus and when we all jumped that was our reaction.


Artist Melissa McCracken, an artist from Kansas City, has a rare neurological condition known as synesthesia.  What this means is that Melissa will actually experience music as two things: something she hears and something she sees.  She experiences sounds as images and colours while listening to music.  To better share her experiences with synesthesia, Melissa decided to listen to some of the most popular songs from the last 30 years of music and paint what she saw.  She has been painting these images since 2014.  Scientists are still not sure what causes synesthesia.  The human brain and its abilities continues to be a very complex and mysterious part of the body.  Her paintings are available for sale from her website.


When reading the article, I was fascinated about the idea that people could see music.  When I took a university course on the brain, I also heard stories about people being able to taste shapes!  I wonder if it would be possible to taste music?  I think that being someone with synesthesia could be very difficult, because there would be a lot of sensory information that you would have to “deal” with at one time, rather than just hearing or listening.  I chose this article because not only do I really like science and the human brain, but I think that music and art are a large part of how wonderful our brain is and what it allows us to see and feel.  I also picked the article because I really liked her paintings and I wanted to know more about what songs she had picked to pain. I would be very curious how much one painting would be to buy!


I think that the impact this article has is mostly on the understanding that people may or may not have on synesthesia and how it can impact or influence the lives of others.  Reading the article actually gave me a greater appreciation for not just art but for what some people live with each and every day.  Some questions that I would have for the artist are:

  • What was your favourite song to paint?
  • Did one genre or type of song show the same sorts of paintings? (i.e. did rock music have lots of “sharp” or “pointed” parts of a painting??)
  • How did you feel while painting?

Looking for project feedback!!

Hi everyone,

Please fill take a moment sometime today to complete the poll below  -I am looking at the next unit and I’m looking for some feedback regarding the Mousetrap Car project…

If you would like to vote online, click here for the webpoll.  Otherwise, use the text and Twitter codes info described (standard text messaging rates do apply).

Section 1 Assessment

Here are the questions due for the section assessment (assigned today):

1. List the following definitions (SLO 1.1 – 1.4):

  • Potable
  • Salinity
  • Hard water
  • Distillation
  • Reverse osmosis

2. In your own words, briefly explain how CLIMATE CHANGE or POPULATION CHANGES can have a negative effect on water quality (SLO 1.2).

3. Explain what is meant by the term water quality.  Describe a sample of water that you think would have a high quality of water (SLO 1.3).

4. From the list below, select ONE of the following water quality tests and explain how to conduct the test and what the test might tell you in the end (SLO 1.3).

  • Chlorine test
  • Hardness test
  • Clarity test
  • Organism test

5. Using the diagram in your notes as a guide, create a visual representation of your own that depicts or shows the distribution of water on Earth’s surface.  You can use any type of visual display that you wish, as long as it is clear and makes sense (SLO 1.1).

Particle Model of Matter Assignment

Hi everyone!

Your new assignment for this week is the particle model of matter assignment, which is due on October 19th.  The assignment sheet has been posted just below, if you need another copy. Any questions, just ask!  Thanks and good luck 🙂


HOMEWORK Assignment

Hi all!
I’m going to get into the habit of posting the homework as soon as possible, so that you know when due dates are arriving.  You will also be reminded in class through my homework board, and of course my daily reminders 😉

In your workbooks, sections 1.1 to the end of 2.3 will be due on Monday, September 20th.  

You will have class time to work on the workbooks as well.  Any questions, please come see me,  email me or fire me a message.  Thank you!

Lab Safety and Expectations

Good afternoon 8E, 8F, 8G and 8H!

Here is the attachment for reviewing lab safety and procedures.  Remember that much of this is common sense so you should know most of this stuff already 😉  The quiz will be 15 questions (12 multiple choice and 3 true/false). 

See you tomorrow!!


Hi all,
Mousetrap car info sheets were handed out today.  If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know sooner rather than later.  I don’t want any confusions before we start construction next week.  Race day is Dec. 14th, which is when the mousetrap cars are due.

Here is a couple of links with some ideas for your mousetrap car.  Hopefully they help anyone who may be having some difficulty generating some ideas.  Happy hunting!


Mr. T