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April 10th, 2009
Lesson Plan 2: We've Got Rhythm
Introductory Activity

1) Gather the objects for this activity (one for each student). Put the objects in a pile in front of you, so that you can access them easily. Ask your students to sit in a circle with you.
Tip: If you have a large group of students, ask your students to form multiple circles of 8-12 students per group.

2) Demonstrate how to play the game, by picking up one of the objects (for example, a pen). Show the object to the person immediately to your right (person 2), while saying: “This is a pen.” The person to your right should respond: “A what?”
The dialogue then continues as follows, with you as person 1:
Person 1: A pen
Person 2: A what?
Person 1: A pen
Person 2: Oh, a pen

Person 2 then takes the pen and then gives it to the person immediately to his or her right in the same manner as described above:
Person 2: “This is a pen”
Person 3: A what?”
Person 2: A pen
Person 3: A what?
Person 2: A pen
Person 3: Oh, a pen
Person 3 then takes the pen and gives it to the person to the right.

3) Ask students to continue passing the pen around the circle until it gets back to you. Then explain that now you are going to make it a little harder and start passing around more things.

4) Pass the pen to the person to your right, as described above. Then, right after person 2 says, “Oh a pen” and grabs the pen, start passing object # 2, as follows:
Person 1: This is a book
Person 2: A what?” (Person 2 looks at you when saying “a what?”)
Person 1: A book (Person 2 looks away from you and says “a pen” to person 3, as you say “a book.”)
Person 2: A what?
Person 1: A book
Person 2: Oh, a book
At this point, person 2 takes the book and then begins passing it, in the same manner to person 3.

5) Continue the game, by initiating a new object each time you pass the previous object. Stop adding a new object once everyone has an object in their hands. Continue playing the game, by continuing to have everyone pass the objects around the circle in the manner described above.

6) In order to emphasize the rhythm involved in this activity, once students have become comfortable with the game, ask them to continue passing the objects, while saying “la, la, la, la” instead of words (using the same rhythm as before). For example,
La la la la
La la?
La la
La la?
La la
La, la la!

7) Next, have your students put down the objects and continue the same rhythm, by saying “la, la, la…” and clapping to the beat.

8 ) After clapping to the beat for a few minutes, ask students to stop and comment on their thoughts about the game. Ask students what made the game challenging? (They had to say the words and pass the objects, while sticking to the rhythm.) Discuss what this activity has in common with music. (There is a specific rhythm.)

9) Ask students to brainstorm other games that also rely on rhythm. (Concentration, are you ready?; patty cake; jump rope; dance, dance revolution, etc.)

10) Ask students to define rhythm. (A repeating pattern organized in time; the organization of sound in time.) Divide students into groups and ask each group to think about rhythms in one of the following categories:

  • rhythms in nature
  • rhythms in the body
  • rhythms in machines

11) Lead a discussion about the different types of rhythms:

  • rhythms in nature (waves in the ocean; raindrops falling)
  • rhythms in the body (heart beat, breathing, walking, etc.)
  • rhythms in machines (rhythm of trains, cars, etc.; jackhammers; washing machines; clocks; swings; pendulums; see saws, etc.)

12) Explain that this lesson is all about rhythm. Let your students know that during the lesson they are going to explore how humans create and respond to rhythm and will also create their own rhythms.

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