Musical Fractions

Author: Shanda Stenger
Year: 2021
Artform: Dance & Music
Subjects: Math
Grade: 3rd Grade
Duration: 1 Session

Students learn the different lengths for each rhythm and understand the length of each rhythm through their movement.


  • Music Note cards *optional
  • Fraction cards *optional


Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards

Dance: Standard 3.D.CR.2:

Experiment with a variety of self-identified stimuli for movement, and explore a given movement problem by improvising, selecting, and demonstrating possible solutions.

Music: Standard 3.M.CR.2:

Select and demonstrate musical ideas to express intent while connecting to purpose and context, and organize personal musical ideas using iconic notation or recordings to combine and/or sequence personal rhythmic and melodic ideas.


Develop understanding of fractions as numbers. Denominators are limited to 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 in third grade.

Teaching and Timeline


Follow Me Movement:

Look here for a video demonstration.


ASK: What Did You Notice?


Do the Follow Me Movement Again:

Introduce the whole note icon by sharing the motion of 4 counts and then putting the whole note on the board or document camera.

Do this for each different rhythmic icon referring to the one previous. Ask how much shorter or smaller is this note?

What fraction would you write for this? Write them down next to the notes.

Point to the different note icons and have students demonstrate their understanding by doing the “Follow Me Movement” corresponding to the note length.

Work Period

Students Create Their Own “Follow Me Movement:”

Demonstrate a movement that would not work. This would take up the same amount of space or the timing is not correct. (See the end of the video demonstration)

Have students create their own movement. It must have a whole and be able to divide into one half, one fourth, and one eighth.

Point to the rhythms on the board at random and have the students do their own movement.


Student’s Create a Rhythm Pattern & Add Their Own Movement:

Create a rhythm pattern on the board with the students. Have the students move to the pattern with their own created movements.

Pair the students up and have them decide on what movement they will use.

Pass out rhythm cards to students. For younger grades you might want to not use the eighth notes.

Students will create their own rhythm and movement.

Have the students group practice. Then half the class will show their movement while the other half watches. Switch groups.

  • What did you notice?
  • What did you learn?
  • What did you like?
  • What did you wonder?
  • Musical Note terminology
  • Fraction terminology
  • Have the students write the fractions on the back of their notes.
  • Have the students find the common denominator and have them add it up.
  • Discuss number lines with fractions.
  • Take away the template and have the students create a rhythm pattern that is equivalent to one whole.

Students demonstrate the different lengths for each rhythm. Students demonstrate they understand the length of each rhythm through their movement.

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