Tempo Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to help you teach students all about tempo. Students will read a text lesson that explains what tempo is and how musicians use it, getting active in the process as they explore tempo by making their own instruments and keeping time.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'tempo'
  • outline the purpose of tempo
  • explain how musicians determine tempo
  • find tempo in music


1 hour


  • Copies of the lesson Tempo: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Audio music samples with varying tempos
  • Sheet music
  • Metronome, if available
  • Empty oatmeal containers with lids
  • Beans
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers

Key Vocabulary

  • Tempo
  • Metronome

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.4.3

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

  • Start class by telling students you will be playing two different music samples for them to compare and contrast.
  • Play a piece with a very quick tempo, then one with a slow tempo.
  • Divide students into partners and have them discuss how the music was the same and different. Discuss:
    • What did you notice about the first piece?
    • How were the two pieces the same?
    • How were they different?
    • What was the biggest difference?
  • Play again if students need another try to identify the tempos, then confirm that the tempos are very different.
  • Tell students they'll be learning about tempo and allow them to share prior knowledge on the topic.

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