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Rhythm Music—Grade 2

Subject: Music

Grade: 2

Lesson Objective: To learn about what a rhythm is and how it is different from a beat.

Common Core StandardCCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.7 - Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.




  • Does anyone know what a rhythm is? (Allow the students to answer).



Say: To understand what a rhythm is, you must also understand what a beat is. A rhythm and a beat in music are two different things, but they are connected to create and play music. A beat is a steady pulse in the music, similar to the tick-tock of a clock. A rhythm is the length of time between each beat. It is the actual sound of the music. In a song, it is also the same as the words to the song.

Say: Understanding rhythm is important when learning how to sing, dance, or play musical instruments. You will now review the difference between a rhythm and a beat and answer some questions. After, you will do some clapping exercises that show rhythm and beat

Provide worksheet handout.

Say: If you are finished with your worksheet, we can start the clapping exercises.

It may be best to have students stand.

Say: The first clapping exercise will be a warm-up. I will clap a rhythm pattern, and I want you to repeat the claps back to me.

Start with a simple pattern and do a few varying ones.

Say: Now that we have warmed up, we will learn the difference between a rhythm and beat when it appears in a song. You will do a clapping exercise to the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" song. Here is a handout to show when to clap for a beat and when to clap for a rhythm.

Provide the second handout.

Say: Let's start with the beat only.

Run through the song clapping to the beat.

Say: Now let's try the rhythm only.

Run through the song clapping to the rhythm.

Say: Lastly, we will split the class into two. One half will do the beat, and the other will do the rhythm. 

Split the class in two and run through the song with one half clapping beat and the other, rhythm. Repeat if necessary. 

Ask: Does anyone have any questions?


Ask: Who wants to share what they learned today about rhythms? You can use the diagrams in the handouts to help you explain.

Allow the students to share.


Written by Sara Menges

Education World Contributor

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