Stars aren’t the only thing up in the sky, there are also PLANETS!! Planets are a great source of rhythmic composition! Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Earth!
In this lesson my students found the rhythms of each of these planets, I made each planet 2 beats long to help create longer phrases for my students. We practiced some of the rhythms sentences I created, and then the students worked to create their own phrases.
I had them use those first phrases as their “A” sections and then create a new B section underneath. Keeping with the ABA form structure, students just needed to read the top line again to perform their whole piece.
Finally, students wrote down their piece and found and un-pitched percussion instrument to play it on. This all was a great way for me to get some rhythm writing and performing assessments.
Another great thing about doing a unit on Stars is that you can incorporate Star Wars into your teaching. My students had a blast doing some “Rhythm Wars” with lightsabers. This product is available on Teachers Pay Teachers by Amy Abbott at Music a la Abbott. It is super fun. You could also do this by displaying various rhythm phrases on a board or having your students echo you.
To create lightsabers, I bought pool noodles and cut them in half. Then I put some duck-tape on the bottom to create the handle. Students stand to face each other, one just holding their lightsaber, the other tapping the rhythm they see on the board.
Another great Star Wars addition is my Star Wars Character Canon. This canon is sung to the tune of “Are You Sleeping”. This is the first canon my students do, and it is simple enough that they are able to be successful and get the picture of how canons work.
Check out the Star Unit Resource, available for purchase in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store: Musical Star Unit