Music Multiples #3: Factor Families Lesson Plan
June 22, 2020
Music Multiples #1: Skip Counting Lesson Plan
June 22, 2020

Music Multiples #2: Math Expressions Lesson Plan

Author: Loretta Walker

Year: 2015

Artform: Music

Subjects: Math

Grade: 3rd, 4th, 5th

Duration: 15 - 45 minutes

Overview: This lesson builds on the foundation laid in Music Multiples Lesson #1. It makes explicit the connection between the patterns explored in that lesson and symbolic mathematical notation of factors, products, dividends, divisors, quotients, and arrays.

Standards and Objectives

Keep a steady beat in patterns of strong and weak beats
Factors and Multiples
Students will write or draw mathematical expressions representing patterns of strong and weak beats.



Students should have mastered the skills in Music Multiples lesson #1 for the multiple number being studied. Review, if needed, until students are fully focused and performing accurately.


Then, have the class skip count with body percussion again, with or without music. While they do this:

  1. One or more students make one tally mark for each completed body percussion pattern.
  2. The class watches the teacher to signal when to stop counting.
  3. The teacher gives the stop signal exactly when one of the skip counting numbers is spoken and writes that number on the board or document camera display.


  1. Students then use the three numbers generated by this activity (number of beats in the body percussion pattern, number of tally marks, and the number on which they stopped counting) as members of a fact family to generate mathematical expressions or representations. They must be able to identify what each number in their expression represents.
  2. Depending on the specific objectives of the lesson, the teacher may choose to have students explore as many written representations as possible or focus on representing specific concepts.


When students are comfortable with this lesson they can do the activity in cooperative groups of 3 or more students or do it on their own by using a tapping page or ruler to keep track of how many body percussion groups they have completed.

Enjoy singing or listening to the music again while performing the body percussion.

This lesson builds on the patterns explored in Lesson #1.
What exactly do factors and products represent?
Choose music that is at a tempo that the students are able to perform accurately. Being too fast or too slow can make it difficult for children. It is also important that the beat maintain a steady tempo, or speed.

This lesson can also be adapted for use by individuals or small groups to meet individual needs.
  • Beat
  • Rhythm
  • Meter
  • Multiples
  • Factor
  • Product
  • Dividend
  • Divisor
  • Quotient
  • Array
Historical content of each lesson will vary according to the music used.
Students’ accurate performance of the body percussion patterns without rushing (speeding up).

Accurate identification and representation of the fact family, according to the teacher’s criteria.
This lesson builds on the fundamental relationships of equal units and repeated patterns in both music and math that were explored in Lesson #1. If students regularly practice the body percussion skills learned in that lesson as applied to a variety of numbers, then they will be fluent in multiples and these follow-up lessons will be exceptionally efficient and effective. The body percussion practice can be tucked into little snippets of classroom time or incorporated into daily classroom routine as a transition activity.


  • One or more recordings of music at a steady tempo in meters that match the factors being studied.
  • Music playback equipment
  • White board or document camera
  • A video of this lesson is available at HERE