I love a challenge. I love puzzles. And I love unlocking things. These are the instructions for having your students open up a locked box by demonstrating some musical knowledge. This could serve as an end of the unit review or possibly a pre-assessment challenge. I personally broke my students up into 3 teams and created 3 lock boxes, but this could be done as one large team if needed.
I am a music specialist and see multiple classes of the same grade level. And since I wasn’t planning on repeating this concept too many times with one particular class, and in order to save money, I went with the cheapest supplies I could gather. Depending on the grade level, your students may or may not memorize the lock combinations. I don’t recommend using the same locks with the class too soon, as it might take the excitement away if there’s a possibility they will remember the combination. At the price I was spending, I could afford to change up the locks every now and then, or I could save and start buying locks that can be changed.
Supplies you must provide:
Toolbox that can accept a lock (I purchased mine at the Dollar Tree)
Combination (locker) lock (also from Dollar Tree)
Padlock with a Key (Dollar Tree)
Bike Chain lock (Dollar Tree)
Zip Ties (can be purchased at many locations affordably if you don’t already have some)
UV light and pen (I purchased pens with light caps from Amazon for less than $5 for a set of 4 http://a.co/b1dleCJ)
Small food storage container (I purchased a set of 4 from the Dollar Tree)
QR Code reader on some device available to students. There are apps and extensions available for all different types of devices, and websites available when an app or extension is not, but a camera features is required for that part. I have included an alternate ending if that is not possible though.
Permanent Marker, Tape, Scissors, Scrap Paper, Paint (opt)
What you’ll need to print:
Melodic Chunks PDF, cut into fourths. I recommend on card stock or taping the cut squares to construction paper to give it more stability.
QR Codes or Alternative, cut all 6 or 9 out to individual pieces.
Specific instructions on how to make a lock box and execute the activity are included, along with resources to print for the activity. Due to the unique nature of individual locks, some activities need to be done by the teacher performing the activity in advance, but there are specific instructions on how to create those documents.
The students are given the locked toolbox (with both a padlock and chain lock) and the set of melodic chunk cards. They work together the put the melodic chunks into the correct order, which will reveal the combination to the chain lock that’s around the toolbox. When that is released, it will free up the key to the padlock (either for their padlock or a neighboring group’s padlock). Once the padlock is opened, the toolbox will open to reveal another sealed container, locked with a combination lock, in addition to a piece of paper with a melody or rhythm written on it, as well as a UV light. When the light is shined on the paper, it reveals the directions for identifying the next combination, based off of the number of a specific rhythmic or melodic value. Once the lock is opened, the students will find several QR codes on cards. When scanned, one of the cards will announce, “Winner!” to complete the activity.
Remember, the point of this activity is to either enhance the student’s understanding about a musical concept or assess their knowledge about a particular musical concept. There are many more ways to change this activity up to individual classroom’s needs. I hope you and your students enjoy this activity!