Grade: Elementary

#3767. History of Aaron Copland

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Wed May 24 18:52:02 PDT 2006 by Meghan Webb (
Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Materials Required: included in lesson plan
Activity Time: 25-40 minutes
Concepts Taught: To learn the history of Aaron Copland, who was one of America's famous composers

Daily Lesson Plan:
Elementary Classroom Music
History/Social Studies Lesson

Day/Date: March 27, 2005 Grade/Class: Third Grade

Concept/Concepts: To learn the history of Aaron Copland, who was one of America's famous composers

Rationale: I want the children to learn the history of Aaron Copland as well as his contribution to American Folk Music.

Goals and Objectives:

1. Instructional Goals: To teach the history of Aaron Copland who was the composer of Hoe-Down from Rodeo

2. Objectives/Outcomes: Students will be able to effectively explain the significance of Aaron Copland and his contribution to American Folk Music.

SS.3.1.3 Explain the significance of patriotic symbols, holidays, celebrations and famous people.


Lesson Intro:
To start off this lesson, the entire class will dance to the song Hoe-Down from Rodeo composed by Aaron Copland. This is a continuation activity from a previous lesson in this unit.
Note: See Rhythms and Dances for School Age Kids by Susan Kramer


1. After the music/dance introduction, the teacher will assign each student the task of searching the internet to find who Aaron Copland was. The students must also find and record five interesting facts about him. (Note: See suggested internet sites in materials section.)
2. Allow the students 15-20 minutes to complete the assignment. Once all the students have finished, the teacher may randomly select students to present their findings to the class.
3. After the student discussion, the teacher should discuss the history and importance of Aaron Copland as well as his contribution to American Folk Music.

History of Hoe-Down from Rodeo by Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. He died on December 2, 1990. Mr. Copland was one of America's most famous composers. Some of his greatest works are his ballets, which include Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring.

When Copeland's friend, the dance choreographer Agnes De Lille, asked him to write another cowboy ballet, Copland at first refused. However, De Mille did not give up until Copland finally agreed to compose the piece which is now titled as: Rodeo. Significantly enough, the music that he wrote ended up being perfect for a story about a cowgirl who dresses as a cowboy to impress the head wrangler on a ranch.

Aaron Copland used his folk music to appeal to the general public. His work was intended to portray American characteristics such as courage, dignity, strength, simplicity, and humor.

Folk Music is music that that comes from the common people of a particular culture. It is music that is most often passed down orally.


4. After the history discussion has been completed, encourage student feedback. Ask them what they think. This may leader to further learning for the students.
5. Once the students have commented on this lesson, the teacher may once again play the piece Rodeo for the children to lead to both the closure and reinforcement sections of this lesson.

Possible Questions for Further Class Discussion/Reinforcement from the piece Rodeo:

What instruments and techniques does Aaron Copland use to make this piece sound "cowboyish?"
Woodblock (clip clop like a horse running)
The instruments sometimes sound as if they are tuning up, getting ready for a square dance.

Can you think of any other folk tunes by Aaron Copland?
Springfield Mountain, Fanfare for the Common Man, Saturday Night Waltz

Instruct the students draw a picture of their favorite instrument from the piece Hoe-Down from Rodeo by Aaron Copland.

Optional: Teacher may also use this time in order to access what the children have learned. He or she may do any of the following assessment procedures below.



• Hoe-Down from Rodeo composed by Aaron Copland
• Paper, Pencils, Crayons
• CD player
• Internet Access
• Optional: Various Books associated with this lesson

Procedures for Assessment:

1. Randomly select students throughout the lesson to answer questions during both the lecture on this history of Aaron Copland.
2. Listen and Watch the students during both the lecture and discussion periods.
3. Actively engage all students in the conversations.
4. Challenge each child to reach their fullest potential.
5. Listen to the feedback of the students.
6. Grade each child on their effort during the internet research activity.


• Hoe Down from Rodeo composed by Aaron Copland

Instruments: none

• Integrating Music Into the Elementary Classroom by Anderson Lawrence
• Rhythms and Dances for School Age Kids by Susan Kramer

Teacher: History discussion and Lecture:

Suggested Student Internet Sites:

Other: none

Modifications for Diverse Learners:

• Hearing Challenged Student: Make sure that the child is sitting close enough to the front of the class in order to see and hear the lectures as well as the question and discussion period. Teacher must also try his or her best to speak clearly and audibly.

• Physically Challenged: The student should be able to understand this entire lesson. However, a physically challenged student might have a problem with the research portion of this lesson. If possible, a teacher or another child could assist the physically challenged student during the activity.

• Visually Challenged: The child should be able to perform and understand this entire lesson with very little assistance from others. If possible, group this child with another students during the research./discovery section.

• Gifted Student: Definitely encourage and motivate this child to learn. If the child excels faster than the other students, have the child assist others.

Note: A gifted student could assist the teacher if he or she needed peer assistance during this lesson. The gifted student could assist a visually or physically challenged student.

• Mentally Challenged: If the child is having difficulties completing this lesson assure them that it is okay. Teacher may also want to simplify the work to the student's level of learning.

If possible, have the gifted student help the mentally challenged student. Both might learn more!

Reflections and Revisions:
(To complete After Lesson)

Did the lesson proceed smoothly or are changes needed?

Would you re-use this lesson plan?

Did you need other resources or equipment?

Was the length of the activities appropriate for the group?


SS.3.1.3 Explain the significance of patriotic symbols, holidays, celebrations and famous people.