Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks | Free Music Lesson Plan (ABA Form)

from the Lesson Zone

Your elementary grade students were born just a few years ago. During this lesson they'll hatch!


Grade 1-2


Students will learn ABA Form through movement. This lesson is designed to fulfill Standard #6 of the National Standards for Music: Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.


A recording of Mussorgsky's "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks" from Pictures at an Exhibition.

'Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks' Music Lesson Plan

Step 1
Begin by familiarizing the students with the music. Ask them to sit in a tight circle facing counterclockwise and placing their hands on the student in front of them.

Step 2
Tell the students, "We are going to play telephone." I will begin the message and each of you will try to make sure that the message stays the same all the way through the telephone line. Let's try it out without the music first. This preparatory activity will reinforce steady beat and get the students used to keeping a steady beat to this particular piece of music.

Step 3
Tap a steady beat on the student's shoulder in front of you. Have them send the message to the next student. When they are successful, try it with the music.

Step 4
Tap a steady beat twice as fast on the student's shoulder in front of you. Have them send the message to the next student. When they are successful, try it with the music.

Step 5
Ask the students which steady beat went with the music the best. They always pick the faster tapping. Tell them, "This will be the steady beat with which you will peck your way out of your egg shell."

Step 6
Explain ABA form. ABA form is like a peanut butter sandwich. The first section A is the bread on the bottom, the B section is the peanut butter, and the last A Section is like the bread on the top.

Step 7
Tell students, "It's time to hatch. Everyone needs to find a place in the room where they can lay on their backs inside their egg shell." Make sure they can all see you.

Step 8
Tell students, "When the music starts you should copy everything that I do."

Step 9
Section A consists primarily of pecking rapidly with your hands and feet to the beat chosen during the prepatory activity. When the music pauses briefly, sit up and look around. Begin pecking again when the music resumes its rapid pace. During the Section B teacher/students sit up to peer out of the hole they have made in the shell at their wonderful new world. A look of amazement on the teacher's face always excites the children. About half way through the B Section the oboe begins playing a three note motive. While sitting up, teacher/students continue to look around at their new world while pecking three times each time they hear the oboe motive. The return to Section A repeats the rapid pecking.

Step 10
Ask students what ABA form is. Ask the students what movement they performed during each of the sections of the music.

Step 11
Repeat the performance one more time with guided practice.

Step 12
Ask the students to repeat anything they have learned responding with a raised hand.

Step 13
Repeat the performance for their teacher when he/she arrives at the door to pick them up. Tell the homeroom teacher, "Seven years ago these kids were born. Today they hatched!"

Browse Best Seller Music Lesson Plans

Browse New Music Lesson Plans