Math Through Music
Introduce to students, or present a refresher course in, the value of musical notes. Each note represents a specific value. In this lesson, students in grades 3 and up will read note values/simple music to create a symphony of clapping.
Participate and identify notes and their values.
Recreate a note chart on a large sheet of poster board; display the poster so all students can see it clearly. You can also use a projector.
Discuss the value of different notes (and rests, if appropriate). To help students "hear" the value of those notes, tap your foot to a 4-beat measure -- tap, tap, tap, tap -- and have students join in. Then
Follow and clap along with each note.
Introduce the whole note. The whole note is an oval (it looks like an egg on its side) with no color inside and no vertical line attached. Introduce the concept of the whole note by clapping its value. Clap once for each 4-beat measure you tap: clap, tap, tap, tap. As you clap, hum the note and hold it over all four beats (hum-mm-mm-mm). Have students clap, tap, and hum with you.
Introduce the half note. The half note looks like a whole note, but it has a vertical line attached. Draw a half note for students to see, and write the fraction 1/2 next to it. Clap (clap, tap, clap, tap) and hum (hum-mm, hum-mm) to represent the half note for students as you tap your foot to the four beats of the measure. Have students clap, tap, and hum with you.
Introduce the quarter note. The quarter note looks like a half note, but the oval is filled in with solid black. Draw a quarter note for students, and write the fraction 1/4 next to it. Clap (clap, clap, clap, clap) to represent the quarter note as you tap your foot to a four-beat measure. Have students clap and tap with you.
Introduce the eighth note. The eight note looks like a quarter note, except it has a curly line (like a flag blowing in the wind) at the end of the vertical line. Draw an eighth note for students, and write the fraction 1/8 next to it. Clap twice for each beat (clap-clap, clap-clap, clap-clap, clap-clap) to represent the eighth note to students as you tap your foot to the four-beat measure. Have students clap and tap with you.
Introduce the sixteenth note. The sixteenth note looks like a quarter note, except it has two curly lines at the top (or bottom) of the vertical line. Draw a sixteenth note for students, and write the fraction 1/16 next to it. Clap four times for each beat (clap-clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap) as you tap your foot to the four beats of the measure. Have students clap and tap with you.
Next, clap a measure of different types of notes at random and have students identify whether you have clapped whole, half, quarter, eighth, or sixteenth notes.
Students follow along. They should be able to identify the value of each note by the end of this stage.
Review what you just covered and make sure the class understands. Answer any questions they have, and possibly give examples.
Show that they can identify note values.
5 Group work
Next, arrange students into two groups. Have one side clap on the whole note (clap, tap, tap, tap) while the other side claps on the half note (clap, tap, clap, tap). Then continue by arranging the class into three groups; have one group clap the whole note, the second group clap the half notes, and the third group clap the quarter notes. Continue by arranging the class into smaller groups and introducing the eighth and sixteenth notes.
Take the activity one more step: Arrange the class into two or more groups. Present each group with a four-beat measure that includes a combination of notes (and rests, if appropriate). Start by having the first group clap out their measure in repetitive fashion. Then practice with the other group. Finally, start the first group off and -- once they are comfortably performing their rhythm -- add in the other group(s) to create a symphony of clapping.
Follow instructions and work together on the computation.
Give students worksheet.
Complete worksheet either in class or as homework (teacher discretion).