Grade: Elementary
Subject: Music

#1810. Just Stringing Along

Music, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Jun 23 07:40:06 PDT 2000 by Susan Tapper (
McKinstry Elementary , Waterloo, Iowa United States
Materials Required: Access to the World Wide Web & Inspiration software
Activity Time: 2-3 depending on how often your class meets
Concepts Taught: Understanding the origin and relationship of instruments around the world

Just Stringing Along

Subject Matter Emphasis and Level:
General Music Grade 3-5 String Instruments and
World Folk Instruments
Brief Description of the lesson:
Using the Internet the student will:
Learn the string instruments of the symphony orchestra and recognize their "relatives"
Read about and listen to string folk instruments
Design, create and present a string instrument
Having completed the above the students will contact students around the world exchanging photographs and information of folk instruments of their country.

Why Do This?
Standard: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
Benchmark: Students identify the sounds of a variety of instruments, including many orchestra and band instruments from various cultures.

Students learn about, describe origins of orchestral instruments; instruments according to orchestral family; families by tone color.
Students will have the opportunity to make individual content selections in the lesson.
Content area connections: Reading and reading comprehension, social studies, science, computer technology, writing and design
Student will have prior learning experience recognizing string instruments both visually and aurally.
Students will Email and exchange digital photographs and information about folk instruments of the United States with students around the world.

Assessment occurs throughout the instruction by means of:
a check sheet
an instrument information form
designing and creating their own string instrument
presentation of instrument explaining design and demonstrating it

Teaching Strategies
Students will be engaged in active learning first using the computer to access the Internet. They will have options/choices within each part of the project as well designing and constructing an instrument as a culminating activity. They will discover and learn concepts by using the Internet to access the lesson content. They will research and design a string instrument submitting a diagram and written explanation.
Students will then create the instrument and give a presentation demonstrating and explaining their design. Students are self-paced and responsible for their own assessment sheet as well as a presentation of their "own" instrument. Students will then engage in instrument information exchanges over the web.

Materials and Resources
Technology Resources
Computer software:
Inspiration - a visual thinking & learning tool
By Inspiration Software, Inc
Web Sites:
New York Philharmonic Kidzone!
< >
Designed for kids it includes: Instrument Storage Room, Instrument Laboratory, News,
Composer's Gallery, Composer's Workshop.

Bash the Trash Instrument Construction Zone
< >
Step by step instructions and illustration on how to build some musical instrument.
(Tubetar, Styrocello, Rubber Band Box)

Multimedia Instrument Encyclopedia
< >
Instrument photographs, text and sound. (balalaika, banjo)

South Slavakia and Balkan Folk Instruments
< >
Introduction to Slavakian & Balkan Folk Instruments, instrument
picture and text. (samica )

Musical Instruments of the World Instrument photographs, sound samples, and text.
( qin, ngombi, tambura, soron, morin huur, keleli )

Students will be working in cooperative groups of 2-3 but also independently.
Students will work in the computer "corner" in the music room, their own classroom, as well as at home on the "creating" section.
All students will be able to participate successfully in this lesson.
Students will work as a class in the world folk instrument exchange.

Support Services
Internet Explorer, Inspiration, Claris or Microsoft Word
This lesson can work in the music classroom alone but lends itself well to "cross-the-curriculum" help from the classroom teachers.

Using Inspiration this page can be arranged to give students choices in each category. When the student clicks on the "bullet" words they are taken directly to the web site where they have more options. If you don't have access to Inpsiration you could still use the lesson giving the URL for each of the "bullet" words. (See Resources: Web Sites) The use of an assessment sheet makes students accountable and responsible for their own work. There are several good sites for creating a string instrument that I did not include. You may wish to explore some of these, however, I preferred the students to be more original.

Having completed this unit, students will have a better understanding of folk instruments and be ready to connect and share with students around the world. A site accessable to particpating schools will be set in Yahoo photos and Yahoo Email. For more information contact me at


1. Symphony String Storage Room

Violin & Relatives
Viola & Relatives
Cello & Relatives
Double Bass
& Relatives
Harp & Relatives

2. Folk Instruments
(choose 2)

Russia (balalaika)
China (qin)
Central African
Republic (ngombi)
India (tambura)
Slavakia (samica)
Guinea ( soron)
United States
Chad (keleli)

3. Create a String

Rubber Band Guitar
Instrument Lab