Chomp! Shark-Themed Music Lesson Plan (Time Signature)

from the Lesson Zone

Introduce or review simple rhythms and time signatures with our shark-themed music lesson plan. Students play a printable board game in groups of four, to reinforce their understanding of 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 and 6/8 meter.


Grade 2-4


Students will gain an understanding of time signatures by playing a board game. Players will identify the number of beats required, indicated by the time signature, and finish incomplete measures for a variety of meters. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #5 of the National Standards for Music: Reading and notating music.


Chomp! Music Theory Game - Rhythm & Time Signatures Board Game (Includes board, playing cards, and foldable games pieces.)
1 Die per Game Board
1 Pencil per Student Group

Lesson Prep

Print and tape together game boards (MMF license permits unlimited copies). Cut out playing cards. Cut out and tape together playing pieces. (Printing them on card stock will make them more stable.) Seal each set including playing cards, game pieces, and die in a plastic sandwich bag. Write 2-3 incomplete rhythm measures from the Chomp! Music Theory Game playing cards on the whiteboard.

Chomp! Shark-Themed Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Tell students, "Today we're going to play a game in teams, but before we do, we need to learn or review a few things about rhythm and time signature."

Step 2
Ask students, "Who knows what a time signature is?" A time signature tells us how many beats are in each measure and what kind of note gets the beat. You find the time signature at the beginning of a piece of music.

Step 3
Ask students, "Which number tells you how many beats there are in a measure? The top number." If the time signature says 4/4, how many beats will be in each measure? Four beats. What about 3/4? Three beats. How about 2/4? Two beats. What about 6/8? Six beats.

Step 4
Tell students, "Some of you may have noticed that the bottom number changed. However, that doesn't change what the top number means. It still tells us how many beats there are in a measure. For most of the time signatures, the bottom number is four. That means the quarter note gets the beat - or the tap of your foot. The 6/8 time signature has an eight as the bottom number. That means that the eighth note gets the beat - or the tap of your foot."

Step 5
Tell students, "A few of the game cards will ask you about time signatures. Other cards will ask you about rhythmic values. We need to know about them so we know how many notes a measure should have."

Step 6
Ask students, "How many beats does a quarter note get?" Write a quarter note on the whiteboard. Ask the students about the whole note, dotted half note, half note, dotted quarter note, and eighth note as well.

Step 7
Tell students, "I've written a few measures of rhythms on the whiteboard. Who would like to come to the board to complete the incomplete measures? Each incomplete measure only needs one rhythm to complete it." Complete the first example for the students and then call students to the whiteboard.

Step 8
Tell students, "We're ready to play the game. When I say 'Go' I'd like you to get in groups of four and find a place to sit. You should be in your groups and seated by the time I count to ten. If you're not ready by then, I'll assign you to a group. Go!"

Step 9
Pass out the game board and plastic sandwich bags. Explain the game rules. Students will play in teams (two students per team), with one game piece per team. They should help each other to answer the questions correctly.

Step 10
Circulate classroom to help students to understand the game rules and answer questions.

Step 11
Stop gameplay five minutes before the class period ends. Announce that the player closest to the finish is the winner, if the group has not yet completed the game.

Step 12
Circulate the classroom to collect game boards and plastic sandwich bags. As you do, review the four time signatures discussed - 4/4. 3/4, 2/4 and 6/8.

Game cards may be limited to just a few, to give students a better chance of learning the content and enjoying the game.

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