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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mapping the Beat: A History and Geography through Music Curriculum at the University of California San Diego, ArtsBridge America Program - Ancient Civilizations for 6th Grade


In 2002, the University of California San Diego ArtsBridge America program initiated a project, funded by the National Geographic Society Education Foundation, that was designed to address the lack of standards-based geography content and culture-based arts instruction within San Diego elementary schools. Representatives from host ArtsBridge institutions identified the following factors contributing to this deficiency: • a perceived lack of arts and geography competence amongst elementary educators; • limited knowledge of arts and geography lesson planning resources and educational standards; • increased pressure to prepare pupils for standardized testing that does not include geography or art topics; • and district mandates that limit time spent on topics other than literacy and math. This curriculum represents a Geography through Music curriculum developed by ArtsBridge with funding from the National Geographic Society Education Foundation. Mapping the Beat was built around three main concepts—environment, identity, and movement—that reflected the standards outlined in Geography for Life, the full national geography standards publication for teachers, curriculum developers, and other educators. These particular themes were selected for their parallel significance in the study of music. In the classroom, these three concepts were explored through the analysis of graphic reproductions of space and demographics, discussions in oral and written form and participation in musical and performance-based activities.

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