This lesson works well with students in 4th and 5th grade. The idea is to reinforce students' ability to decode four beat rhythms.
Objective: Given a four-beat rhythm, in quarter notes, quarter rests and eighth notes, the student will decode the rhythm by writing it on the chalk board.
Vocabulary/previous knowledge: students must have working knowledge of quarter notes, eighth notes and quarter rests.
1. Draw a long rectangle on the board and divide it into four equal squares.
2. Ask for a volunteer to come to the chalk board.
3. Using rhythm sticks, beat out a 4-beat rhythm. Ask the volunteer to listen again and tell the rest of the class to listen hard as well.
4. Repeat the rhythm.
5. The volunteer attempts to decode the rhythm by placing a quarter note, two eighth notes or a quarter rest in each block.
6. If the student is stumped, he or she may consult a friend (expert) one beat and he or she may consult the audience over one beat.
7. Applause when the rhythm is correctly decoded.
8. If the student is unable to decode, he/she hands the chalk to another volunteer.
My students loved this. I did it very dramatically, as in "Who wants to be a Millionaire," including phrases like, "Is that your final answer?"