Music Multiples #4: Least Common Multiple & Greatest Common Factor Lesson Plan
June 22, 2020
Music Multiples #2: Math Expressions Lesson Plan
June 22, 2020

Music Multiples #3: Factor Families Lesson Plan

Author: Loretta Walker

Year: 2015

Artform: Music

Subjects: Math

Grade: 4th, 5th, 6th

Duration: 15 - 45 minutes

Overview: This lesson builds on the foundation laid in Music Multiples Lessons #1 & #2. It makes explicit the patterns that emerge when different multiples are layered on top of each other.

Standards and Objectives

Keep a steady beat in patterns of strong and weak beats
Factors and Multiples
Students will recognize related numeric patterns in both sound and mathematical expressions.



Students should have mastered the skills in Music Multiples lesson #1 (Skip Counting Patterns) for the smallest multiple number being studied. In the case of this sample lesson they would need to be familiar with the multiples of three. Perform the body percussion to a favorite song in 3.


  1. Do the Skip Counting Patterns activity for the number 3 (with or without music) while generating a visual graphic of the multiples. For this activity it is helpful to write the numbers in a hundreds chart type format and count as high as is practical.
  2. Optional: Have a student play a percussion instrument to emphasize each skip counting number.
  3. Review patterns the students discover in the chart showing the multiples.


  1. Ask the students to predict whether the next multiple, in this case 6, will use the same numbers or different numbers than the ones already on the 3’s multiple chart.
  2. Repeat the Skip Counting Patterns activity with the number 6, marking the multiples on the same chart. Depending on the music chosen, it may be possible to use the same music for 3, 6 & 12. Discuss the patterns. Repeat this process as desired with additional related multiples.


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

Note: It may be instructive to repeat the activity with a number that is not as closely related, such as 5, to contrast the patterns. In that case it would be necessary to use different music for the pattern in 5.

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.
What relationships can be found among the different factors and multiples being studied?
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
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 of patterns within and across multiples.
This lesson can be taught well in a short period of time if students are fluent in the skills and concepts in the previous Music Multiple lessons. It will be most effective if students have frequent, enjoyable, ongoing practice with performing the patterns in Lesson #1.


  • 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
  • Optional: simple percussion instruments to emphasize the skip counting numbers.