Rig-A-Jig-Jig: Doubles Addition

Author: Loretta Walker
Year: 2015
Artform: Music
Subjects: Math
Grade: 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade & Kindergarten
Duration: 10 - 20 minutes

Sing and play the singing game, Rig-a-Jig-Jig. Experience the snowball effect of doubles addition in a game A student favorite.


  • Whiteboard or document camera
  • Prefer 2 colors for writing



Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards


Natural voice free from strain


Operations & algebraic thinking: Addition

Recognize the dramatic increase in value when numbers are doubled several times and identify the exact values of doubling the number 1 several times.

Teaching and Timeline


Students may be seated at desks or on the floor in any configuration. There needs to be space in the room to move. After learning the song, older students will be able to learn the game simply by having the teacher model playing the full game with them.

Sing the song (or play the recording) for the students. Ask students to summarize the story the song is telling (i.e. I am walking down the street, I unexpectedly meet a friend, and we continue down the street together). Clarify words the students may not know, such as “chanced.”

I usually change the words “a pretty girl I chanced to meet” to “a friend of mine I chanced to meet.”

As you repeat the song or phrases of the song in the course of this discussion, invite the children to sing along with you as soon as they are comfortable doing so.


Once children know the song, introduce the singing game, showing the movements while everyone sings the song. Older children may be able to learn two or three of the following steps at once or skip directly to learning the full game.

  1. “As I was walking down the street…” teacher walks in place or in a small area.
  2. “A friend of mine I chanced to meet…” teacher waves at students. Continue waving through “Heigh, ho” section.
  3. “A rig-a-jig-jig” teacher does a motion a little like “The Twist” dance in place, with elbows at waist level.
  4. “And away we go, away we go, away we go” teacher skips in place
  5. “A rig-a-jig-jig” teacher repeats “Twist” motion.
  6. “And away we go…” to end. Teacher skips in place.

Have students do these actions in place with you while singing the song. They will remember the lyrics much better if they perform the movements while they sing.


Next, demonstrate the full game. Using the same phrase segments listed above, use the full actions of the singing game. Be sure students sing with you in a natural, unstrained singing voice while you demonstrate.

  1. “As I was walking down the street…” teacher walks among students.
  2. “A friend of mine I chanced to meet…” teacher shakes hands with a student. Continue shaking hands through “Heigh, ho” section.
  3. “A rig-a-jig-jig” teacher keeps holding student’s right hand while also grasping student’s left hand. Arms will cross and make an X. See-saw hands back and forth as if in a sawing motion. The more energetic it is, the more fun it is.
  4. “And away we go, away we go, away we go” teacher and student skip, with hands still joined, anywhere in the room.
  5. “A rig-a-jig-jig” teacher and student stop their feet and repeat hand motion.
  6. “And away we go…” to end. Teacher and student resume skipping about the room until the song stops.
  7. Teacher and student drop hands. The next time the song is sung each one completes the steps above, choosing a new partner for a total of four players. The number of participants doubles each time.
  8. On the last verse, if there is not the correct number of students for partners to come out even, pause the song just before “A rig-a-jig-jig” and make sure everyone has a partner before finishing the game.
  9. When the last verse if over, invite students to “rig-a-jig-jig” back to their seats.

Work Period

After completing the game once, write the number “1” on the board. Play one round of the game, ending with the teacher and first partner standing.

Count how many people are standing, then write the number “2” beneath the “1” on the board.
Play another round of the game, ending with four people standing, count the number of people standing, then write the number “4” beneath the “2” on the board.

Ask the children to look for patterns as you continue this process. The series, written in a vertical column, will become: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32. Count the number of students standing at the end of each round of the game.

During your discussion with the children, gradually turn the column of numbers into a column of equations:

Explore patterns in this list of equations.

Most classes have enough students to easily have 16 people standing. Most classes do not have 32.

When simply playing the game, without modeling doubles addition, it is useful to simply pause the game in the middle on the last round, have any students without partners find a partner, and finish the song.

When modeling doubles addition, it is important for each student who is standing at the end of each round, to find a partner on the next round who has not yet stood to have a turn. This can be a problem in the transition from 16 to 32, if there are not 32 students in the class. One way to solve this problem is to have any of the 16 students (who were standing at the end of the fifth round) who cannot find a classmate partner (because everyone has already been chosen) grab a book or other common classroom item to “rig-a-jig-jig” with on the end of the last round. Then, when counting students who are standing at the end of that round, count each book-partner as a “child,” too. The total should come out to 32.

In the event that a child leaves the room in the middle of the game, or there is some mixup in choosing partners, then the doubles addition may not come out exactly right on the chart on the board. One way to handle this, for slightly older children, is to explain, for example, that a child left, so now we have 7 people standing instead of 8. Then predict the double of 7, and of 14, etc. It is not always necessary to start over if there is a mixup. This simply provides an excuse to play the game one more time to find out what the real double series would be.

Another variation is to start with a number other than 1. For example, have three students start out choosing partners all at once on the first verse. Have students predict what the doubles series would be if it were to start on 3, then check their predictions by playing the game.


Play the game once again. If desired, have children use manipulatives on their desks to model partner choosing in the game. It is possible to start with numbers other than “1.” Have students create a chart of their own showing the doubles series.


This game is a real-world example of how quickly the value of numbers in a series of doubles increases.


This game is accessible to almost all students.

Students with physical disabilities can perform the actions they are able to in place while partners come to them.

Students with social disabilities may need to have adult partners throughout the game.

More advanced students can predict the numbers in the series then check their predictions by counting the number of people standing at the end of each round.

  • Singing voice
  • Singing game
  • “Chance”
  • Double
  • Addition

Prior to the advent of TV and video games, children often spent many hours with their friends, playing singing games such as this one.


What does it mean when someone says that something keeps doubling?



Observe students singing. Listen to be sure they are singing in an unstrained, natural voice.


Adjust assessment to ability, ranging from counting the number of people standing, to creating individual input-output charts.


Observe how students act while choosing or being chosen as a partner and during the game.


MANAGEMENT NOTE: Classroom management is very rarely an issue with this game if a few simple rules are strictly observed:

  1. Whenever the singing stops, partners drop hands and all body movement and voice sounds stop, also. Players may move only while singing.
  2. Quickly choose the closest partner as soon as the word “friend” is sung so the new partner gets a full turn.

Notation and/or recording of Rig-a-Jig-Jig, available from Utah State Board of Education Elementary Songbook

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