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Fractions, Rhythm and Movement

  • Lesson Plan Creator: Lynne Larson
  • Grades: Grade 5, Grade 6
  • Subjects: Math, Language Arts
  • National/State Fine Arts Standards: Create, Perform/Present, Connect, Respond, Connect/Analyze
  • Tags: Creative Movement
  • Skills Addressed: Creation of Patterns

Students will use rhythm to explore different fractions with movement and within the space.

Learning Objectives/Goals

The understanding of a whole note, half note, quarter note and eighth note as they relate to movement, understanding different fractions of the room and how to move within them, both vertically and horizontally.

Materials Needed

Verb Cards (see below), Fraction Cards, music with a steady beat, a large open space, a drum

Verb/Action Cards:


State expectations for the class. Ask the students for a description of rhythm. A beat! Today we will break down the beat into some fractions, and use movement to show those fractions with the body and the moving space.


Sitting in a group. Introduce a whole note, half not, quarter note and eighth note by clapping. Once students have mastered this, then stand up and try the same thing with walking. This will be more challenging for some of them! Try adding music! Start with just clapping and then progress to walking again. This may also be challenging for some
of them.


Now to further explore rhythm in the body, select 4 action (verb) cards. One card will direct students what to do in their bodies for the whole notes (stretch), one card for half notes (turn) one card for quarter notes (crawl) and one care for eighth notes (jump). Using the cards create a pattern. Next add the following to the pattern. Select a fraction
card (1/3). Now do the rhythm pattern using only 1/3 of the floor space. Next add a vertical fraction to the pattern, while still using only 1/3 of the floor space. The stretch of the whole note needs to take place in the whole height of the space, the turn of the half notes will take place in 1/2 the height of vertical space, the crawl of the quarter notes
taking place in 1/4 of the vertical space and finally the jump of the 1/8 notes taking place in 1/8 of the height! Try this all with music.


Divide students into smaller groups. Give them 4 action (verb) cards and 1 fraction card. Instruct each group to put one card with each rhythm fraction and to perform the pattern they are creating in the amount of space indicated on their fraction card. Give them time to work. Then try with the music.


Ask students what they viewed as challenging about this lesson. Rhythm work can be challenging as it is so precise and is very like math. Counting is important and Focus is important.

Extension to the Lesson

Try this idea with different time signatures of music like 6/8, or 7/8!

Follow-up Resources

What other fraction ideas can we use with movement? Can we use fractions to divide up what the movement looks like? For example, 1/2 of a turn, 1/5 of a fall to the ground, 3/4 of a kick, etc. Ask students what fractions of movements they can think of and explore.


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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!