• Grade 3: Rhythm and Meter

  • The Language of Rhythm

    Aim: How can we perform and compose rhythms using language and body percussion?
    Summary: Students explore and create rhythms through language and body percussion.
    Standards: US 2, 3, 4, 5, 8; NYC 1, 2, 3
    Modality: performing, responding, creating
    Materials: Teacher and Student Worksheets
    Time Required: 20 minutes
    This activity is part of: Music Educators Toolbox

    MET flag
  • Instructions   |   Going Deeper   |   Video   |   Assessment
  • MET K Instructions Rhythm
    1. Speak and clap different rhythmic patterns using words to represent note values (e.g., “pear” for quarter notes and “ap-ple” for eighth-notes.)
      MET G3 SW Rhythm and Meter
      Download Student Worksheet:
      Apple and Pear Rhythms
    2. Have students create body percussion movements to accompany each note value (e.g., a clap for “pear” and alternating shoulder taps for “ap-ple”)
    3. Improvise new “pear” and “apple” rhythms and perform with students through call and response.
    4. Play or clap eighth-note / quarter-note rhythmic patterns and have students transcribe what they hear using graphic or standard notation. You may want to practice this as a class before having students transcribe individually.
    5. Have students create their own compositions in small groups or individually and perform their new rhythms for the class.
  • MET K Going Deeper Rhythm
    1. Create longer (3–4 bars) compositions with a variety of meters and language patterns.
      What other words might replace “pear” and “apple”?
      What words can we use to represent other note values? (e.g., “wa-ter-me-lon” for 16th-notes)  
    2. Add rests within the rhythmic patterns, maintaining the “pear” and “apple” structure, but only clapping the notes that are played. Students may want to create soundless movements to represent the rests. See the Teacher Worksheet for rhythm examples.
      MET G3 TW Rhythm and Meter
      Download Teacher Worksheet:
      Advanced Pear and Apple Rhythms
    3. Invite students to bring in an example of a song that clearly represents the “apple” and “pear” rhythms.
  • MET K Video Rhythm

  • Activity Exemplar: “The Language of Rhythm”

    Summative Assessment Exemplar: “Improvise a Rhythm”

    Summative Assessment Exemplar: “Transcribe a Rhythm”