Percussion Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What types of sounds do percussion instruments make? This lesson plan uses a text lesson to list and describe different types of percussion instruments and an activity allows students to create a percussion instrument of their own.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'percussion'
  • explain how percussion instruments are used
  • list and describe different types of percussion instruments


45 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.


Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and *cause/effect.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.


  • Assorted examples of different types of percussion instruments
  • Paper copies of the text lesson Percussion Instruments: Lesson for Kids
  • A worksheet created using the quiz from the associated text lesson
  • Empty paper towel rolls
  • Uncooked rice or beans
  • Rubber bands, large and small
  • Empty margarine tubs
  • Heavy duty garbage bags
  • Scissors
  • Unsharpened pencils


  • Begin by displaying the examples of different percussion instruments for the class.
    • What do these instruments have in common?
  • Allow the students some time to experiment with the instruments before continuing.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson, one for each student.
  • Have the students take turns reading aloud from the introduction and 'Percussion Instruments' section of the text lesson.
    • What are percussion instruments?
    • How are percussion instruments used?
  • Tell the class to take turns reading aloud from the 'Early Percussion Instruments.'
    • What were some of the earliest percussion instruments like?
  • Ask the students to take turns reading aloud again from the text lesson, this time focusing on the 'Categories of Instruments' section.
    • What are idiophones?
    • Are any of the instruments on display in the classroom idiophones?
    • What are membranophones?
    • Do we have any examples of membranophones in class today?
  • Tell the class to take turns reading aloud from the remainder of the text lesson at this time.
    • Have any of you heard the sounds made by gongs and triangles before? If so, how are they unique?
  • Review key facts about percussion instruments with the class before continuing.
  • Pass out the worksheet to the class.
  • Work together as a class to complete the worksheet.

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