Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-3, students use BrainPOP Jr. resources to identify characteristics of woodwind instruments. Students then create and play their own original woodwind instrument.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify characteristics of woodwind instruments.
  2. Create and play a woodwind instrument.


  • Access to BrainPOP, computer, and projector
  • Individual computers for a small group of students to use
  • One straw for each student
  • Scissors for a small group of students


woodwind; instrument family; reed; double reed; vibrate; pitch


Familiarize students with concept of instrument families (sets of instruments that have several characteristics in common.) You may wish to use the Musical Instruments movie to build background knowledge. The Experimenting with Percussion lesson plan is also designed to be used in this unit of study.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Review the instrument families that students have already studied, if any, and explain that they will be learning about a new type of instrument family today.
  2. Hold up a straw and ask students what type of instrument they think could be created with it. Brainstorm ideas with students and accept all responses. Allow volunteers to demonstrate different ways they think the straw can be used to produce sound.
  3. Project the Activity for the class and read through the directions with students. Complete the activity yourself as a demonstration and tell students to watch carefully so that they will be ready to make their own instruments later on.
  4. Play the instrument for students and have them describe what they notice about its appearance, sound, and characteristics. What real instruments is it similar to? How? What might the instrument family might be called?
  5. Show the Word Wall and introduce the term 'woodwind' to students. Share the other vocabulary words, as well, asking students to use the words to tell about their experiences with different instruments and music. Have they ever seen a reed or double reed instrument before?
  6. Play the Woodwind Instruments movie for the class. Pause throughout the movie to discuss the concepts and connect them to students' prior knowledge.
  7. Display the woodwind instrument you made out of the straw. What might be a good name for this new instrument? What makes it a woodwind? How is it similar to and different from other woodwinds featured in the movie? You may wish to use a graphic organizer from BrainPOP Educators to help record and analyze students' responses.
  8. Divide students into small groups to complete the next set of activities. One group can work with you to create their own woodwinds out of the straws while other groups work independently. The independent groups may take the Easy Quiz or Hard Quiz on your classroom computers, completing the Draw About It activity when they're done. Other groups may read books about woodwind instruments, complete the Write About It activity as a journal prompt, or explore various woodwind instruments you have available.

Extension Activities:

You can provide more in-depth information by sharing the BrainPOP Woodwinds movie. You can also read some of the Related Reading information to students to teach them about the history of the flute and saxophone, famous woodwind musicians, quirky woodwind instruments, and more!