Orchestra Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach your students about the instruments in an orchestra with this lesson plan. A text lesson explains the four families of instruments and students interact with and apply content to games and activities to make learning stick.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'orchestra'
  • describe the four instrument families
  • classify instruments into the four instrument families


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson Orchestra Instruments: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Images of orchestra instruments, one set for each group
  • Prepared index cards with the name of an instrument listed in the lesson written on it
  • Audio of the song We Are Family by the Pointer Sisters
  • Index cards
  • Marker
  • Scissors

Key Vocabulary

  • Orchestra
  • Strings
  • Woodwinds
  • Brass
  • Percussion

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2

Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Divide students into small groups and give each a set of prepared images.
  • Instruct groups to look at the images and sort into groups.
  • As students work, walk around and ask questions, prompting students to share their reasons for classifications.
  • When finished, ask each group to share their classification system with the class. Discuss:
    • What do these instruments all have in common?
    • How are they the same? How are they different?

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