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LESSON  OVERVIEW  
 

Title:  Musical  Fractions  
Author:  Lauren  Parzianello,  Gary  Hopkins,  Eva  Diep    
Subject:  Math  
Grade  Level:  4  
Duration:  90  minutes  
 
Unit  Description:  This  lesson  is  part  of  a  week-­‐long  unit  about  fractions.  
 
Lesson  Goals:  Students  will  be  able  to  
• Explain  how  musical  notes  and  fractions  are  related  
• Label  quarter,  eighth,  half,  and  whole  notes  
• Add  fractions  in  the  form  of  musical  notes  
 
Common  Core  Standards:  
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.NF.B.3.A  
Understand  addition  and  subtraction  of  fractions  as  joining  and  separating  parts  
referring  to  the  same  whole.  
CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.NF.B.3.B  
Decompose  a  fraction  into  a  sum  of  fractions  with  the  same  denominator  in  more  
than  one  way,  recording  each  decomposition  by  an  equation.  Justify  decompositions,  
e.g.,  by  using  a  visual  fraction  model.  Examples:  3/8  =  1/8  +  1/8  +  1/8  ;  3/8  =  1/8  +  
2/8  ;  2  1/8  =  1  +  1  +  1/8  =  8/8  +  8/8  +  1/8.  
 
 
Big  Ideas  
Fractions  are  part  of  a  whole  number,  just  as  musical  notes  are  part  of  a  whole  
measure.  
 
Barriers  
Should  have  some  sort  of  motor  functioning  to  be  able  to  clap,  stomp,  or  move  to  a  
certain  beat.  
Need  background  knowledge  about  the  function  of  a  fraction  and  how  fractions  
work.  
 
 
 
 
 
 

METHOD  
 
Anticipatory  Set  (3  min)  
1. Lead  students  through  an  activity  in  which  they  are  divided  into  4  groups  in  
their  seating  arrangement  so  that  they  can  show  different  patterns  of  sounds.    
a. Start  with  group  1  stomping  their  feet  every  4  counts.    
b. Then  group  2  will  hit  their  hands  on  the  
Checkpoint 7.3
table  every  2  counts.    
Minimize threats and
c. Group  3  will  snap  their  fingers  for  each  
distractions
count.    
d. Group  4  will  clap  their  hands  every  half-­‐count      
2. All  4  groups  are  making  different  sounds  in  different  patterns  all  at  the  same  
time  (like  a  round).    
a. For  students  who  don’t  have  these  motor  skills,  have  them  nod  their  
heads  or  click  their  tongues  in  rhythm.  
 
 
Introduce  and  Model  New  Knowledge  (15  min)  
1. Give  a  definition  of  a  fraction    
a. Fraction – A numerical quantity that is not a whole number; a small
or tiny part, amount, or proportion of something.

2. Show  pictures  of  whole,  half,  quarter,  and  eighth  notes  and  the  fraction  
that  they  correspond  with  –  1,  ½,  ¼,  1/8,  respectively  (refer  to  music  
values  chart  provided  at  the  bottom  of  this  lesson)  
a. Whole Note – 1
i. Represents 1 whole
ii. Looks like a hallow oval *
b. Half Note – ½
i. Represents ½ of a whole
ii. Looks like a whole note with a vertical line attached *
c. Quarter Note – ¼
i. Represents ¼ of a whole
ii. Looks like a half note but with a dark oval *
d. Eighth Note – 1/8
i. Represents 1/8 of a whole
ii. Looks like a quarter note with a curly line *

3. Distribute  copies  of  the  chart  mentioned  above  
Checkpoint 1.1 Offer
and  also  either  copy  it  onto  the  board  or  project  it  
ways of customizing the
onto  a  screen  in  front  of  class  for  later  reference.  
display of information
4. Show  relationship  between  fractions  and  the  
 
music  notes  you  just  taught.  Just  as  fractions  can  be  added  
to  represent  a  
whole,  so  can  music  notes.  
 
 
 

Provide  Guided  Practice  (10  min)  
1. Go  over  examples  of  how  to  add  fractions  in  the  form  of  musical  notes;  
compute  with  the  class  to  understand  the  process  
a. .  
 
 

       1            +          ¼  +  ¼  +  ¼          =              1  ¾    
 
b. .  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

¾                    

                                               

 

 

¼  +  ¼        +        1/8  +  1/8            =            ¾    

 

 

 
 
Provide  Independent  Practice  (25  min)  
Checkpoint 8.3 Foster

1. In  order  to  help  students  practice  adding  
collaboration and
fractions  based  on  musical  notes,  the  teacher  
communication
then  breaks  the  students  up  into  groups  of  4  or  5  
Checkpoint 2.5 Illustrate
and  will  then  give  each  group  a  random  number  
through multiple media
(1  ¼,  3,  1  5/8,  2  ½,  4  ¾,  3  3/8,  etc.),  and  each  
Checkpoint 5.1 Use
group  will  have  to  come  up  with  a  pattern  of  
whole,  half,  quarter,  and  eighth  notes  that  add  up   multiple media for
communication
to  the  number  given  to  them  by  the  teacher.    
a.  Ex:  If  the  number  given  is  1  ¼,  students    
could  write  down  2  half-­‐                notes  and  one  quarter-­‐note  (since  ½  
+  ½  +  ¼  =  1  ¼  ).  
i. During  this  time,  walk  around  to  different  groups  and  assist  
them  in  coming  up  with  a  series  of  fractions  that  will  add  
up  to  their  total  number.    
Checkpoint 8.2 Vary
ii. For  groups  who  seem  to  be  
demands and resources
finding  this  activity  simple,  give   to optimize challenge.
them  the  more  difficult  
 

numbers  such  as  1  5/8.  
 
WRAP  UP  (20  min)  
Share  each  group’s  finished  music.  Have  them  go  through  and  count  out  the  number  
of  notes  and  explain  how  they  came  up  with  it.  Assess  as  each  one  ends.  If  a  group  
comes  up  with  a  pattern  of  notes  that  does  not  add  up  to  the  total  given  by  the  
teacher,  have  the  class  brainstorm  together  to  see  where  this  group  went  wrong  and  
how  they  can  modify  the  work  they’ve  done  to  get  
to  the  correct  number  of  notes.  
Checkpoint 6.2 Support
planning and strategy

How  did  you  know  what  notes  to  put  in  this   development
piece  of  music?  
 
v What  made  you  decide  to  use  the  notes  that  you  did  instead  of  longer  or  
shorter  ones?  
v What  issues  did  you  encounter  while  you  were  writing  your  music?  How  did  
you  fix  them?  
v

Review:  
v

What  is  a  fraction?  

v

What  are  the  kinds  of  musical  notes  that  we  learned  about  today?  What  do  
they  look  like?  

v

Fraction – A numerical quantity that is not a whole number; a small or
tiny part, amount, or proportion of something.

Whole Note – 1
• Represents 1 whole
Checkpoint 2.1 Clarify
• Looks like a hallow oval *
vocabulary and symbols
Half Note – ½
• Represents ½ of a whole
 
• Looks like a whole note with a
vertical line attached *
Quarter Note – ¼
• Represents ¼ of a whole
• Looks like a half note but with a dark oval *
Eighth Note – 1/8
• Represents 1/8 of a whole
• Looks like a quarter note with a curly line *

How  are  musical  notes  and  fractions  related?  
• Just  as  fractions  can  be  added  to  represent  a  whole,  so  can  music  
notes.  

 
ASSESSMENT  (15  min)  
Formative,  Ongoing  Assessment:  Insert  check-­‐ins  throughout  the  lesson  (thumbs  
up  if  you  understand,  repetition  of  directions,  ask  questions  to  students,  etc.)  

 
 
 
Summative  Assessment:  After  completing  the  wrap-­‐up  review,  students  will  then  
take  a  formal  written  assessment  (in  sub-­‐tab  of  UDL  and  
Mathematics:  Lesson  Plan).  For  students  who  process  
Checkpoint 4.1 Vary the
methods for response
more  slowly,  extra  time  will  be  granted.  Students  with  
and navigation
low  writing  skills  and/or  motor  skills  will  be  invited  to  
take  the  assessment  with  the  assistance  of  an  aide  to  read    
and/or  write  down  responses  as  dictated  by  the  student.  
 
 
 
MATERIALS  
• http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/TM/WS_lp303-­‐05.shtml    
• http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/TM/WS_lp303-­‐05.pdf    
• Summative  Assessment  Worksheet  
• ELMO  
• Paper  and  pencils    

 

 

 
 
 
 
RESOURCES  
• http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/03/lp303-­‐05.shtml  
• http://l-­‐
www.voki.com/open_pdf.php?file=Lesson%20Plan_Summer_Music%20Fract
ion.pdf  
• http://pianopronto.com/blog/wp-­‐content/uploads/2013/02/EKLUND-­‐
THEORY_EX_9_SIMPLE_MUSIC_MATH_NOTES.jpg    
 
 
Vocabulary  
Fraction  
Whole  note    
Half  note  
Quarter  note  
Eighth  note