Accessibility Tools

Lesson Plans

Fractions and Rhythm

  • Lesson Plan Creator: Lynne Larson
  • Grades: Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6
  • Subjects: Math, P.E.
  • National/State Fine Arts Standards: Create, Perform/Present, Respond

In this lesson designed for elementary grades 4-6, students explore dance elements by learning about math fractions.

Learning Objectives/Goals

Dance Elements Time and Space, Using fractions in rhythm, Using fractions in the dance space, Verbs, Patterns, Collaboration, Creative Thinking, Teamwork

Materials Needed

Fraction cards, a large space, Verb Cards, music with a steady beat


Class expectations (Good listening, following directions, be creative, be active), Space boundaries, personal boundaries, goals for class today


Ask students to define a beat. Explain the division of a beat; whole note, !/2 note, 1/4 note, 1/16 note. Direct students to walk in the space on the different parts of the beat. Whole note = 1 step, 1/2 note = 2 steps, 1/4 note = 4 steps, 1/16 note = 8 steps. The walking will gradually increase in speed as the notes get smaller. Try the same thing with a different action. Try with music.


Have a student select a fraction card. For example 1/3, indicate where 1/3 of the room would be. Have all students gather in 1/3 of the space. Tell them this is the space where you will be moving. Select 4 action cards. The first action card will be done in whole note, the 2nd action card in 1/2 notes, the 3rd action card in 1/4 notes and the final action card in 1/16 notes. Practice this with the drum in the 1/3 space area. Direct students to try and show use of the entire 1/3 spatial area. Try with the drum then try with music.


Divide students into groups of 3 or 4. Give each group a fraction card. This is the amount of the space they will need to use during their 4 movements. Give each group 4 action cards. Instruct them to use the 1st card for whole notes, the 2nd card for 1/2 notes, the 3rd card for 1/4 notes and the 4th card for 1/16 notes. Give them 3 minutes to work out their movements and space.


Have students perform their patterns. Audience looking for fraction of space used and what actions group used for their divisions of the beat.

Extension to the Lesson

Divide the space by height: high, medium, low and very low. Add these heights to the action cards of the different rhythms.

Follow Up Resources

RDT's lesson plan videos

Back to All Lesson Plans

What People are Saying

The diversity of the dancers really spoke to my students! It was great to see boys and girls dancing, and different races. The high level of engagement was so refreshing and got students excited about thecontent.
This activity was valuable because it helped students make connections between dance, rhythm, healthy lifestyles, and expression. The students were impressed by the talent of the dancers and it was motivating to them.
Opportunities for art and expression are so limited at school but so essential and valuable for all students, especially those who struggle to learn through traditional methods. My Kindergarteners have been dancing since you left!
This was so engaging. I looked around the auditorium and every student was watching. Not one person was talking or distracted
This activity is valuable to teachers and students because it gives them a creative outlet. We need movement in the classroom to engage, energize and deepen student learning.
I got great ideas on how to incorporate movement into math and science lessons.
I loved how you made movement and exercise relatable to the students. The dancers were full of energy and there was very little down time so students stayed engaged.
Our children were captivated by the performance. They listened to you and they were learning without knowing. They usually giggle when bodies are shown and talked about. But the way you presented it was so tastefully done, they now do poses and movement around the room and outside. You brokesome barriers and they took that permission and literally ran with it!