Grade Levels: 3-5, K-3

In this One Man Band game lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-5, students will use BrainPOP resources to explore the sounds made by various instruments, and use a free online music game to create their own one-of-a-kind One Man Band.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore the sounds created by various instruments through an online game.
  2. Compare and contrast instruments within and across instrument families.
  3. Select and research one instrument family and present findings to the class.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.
  • Computers for students to use independently or in pairs
  • Interactive whiteboard (or just an LCD projector)


This lesson plan uses a free online music game from State of Play called One Man Band. During game play, students drag and drop instruments anywhere on the screen, then press Play or Stop to control the music on each. They can also click buttons 1, 2, or 3 to switch between different loops.

To prepare for this lesson, explore the BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. movie topics on music, and determine which ones are most appropriate for your students and learning objectives.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Begin the lesson by playing the Pitch, Tone, and Beat movie from BrainPOP Jr. Instruct the class to listen for the definition of each term as they watch.

  2. Talk with students about the meaning of the words pitch, tone, and beat. Use the Word Wall to guide your discussion. You might also want to display the Game to further students' understanding of high and low notes, or the Talk About It activity to develop the concepts of sharp and warm sounds.

  3. Project the One Man Band game for the class and play the introduction. Draw students' attention to the different beats and rhythms the drum makes in the tutorial. Encourage students to replicate them by tapping on their desks. Have a clearly defined signal so that students know when to stop and listen once again.

  4. Mouseover each of the instrument choices for students and play them. Facilitate a discussion about the less conventional examples, and guide students to understand that lots of objects can be used to make music (even the tops of their desks!)

  5. As you drag different instruments onto the One Man Band, provide as much concept develop as you feel your students need. You can use the game to build background knowledge on instruments, instrument families, melody and harmony, analog and digital recording, and more. Use the related BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. movie topics to guide you.

  6. Hit the Finish button and allow the class to listen to the One Man Band they created. How do the instruments work together to create a beat and rhythm? Were there any sounds that didn't seem to belong? Why did it seem that way?

  7. Allow students to explore the game independently or with a partner. Provide sufficient time for students to create a steady beat with instrument sounds that complement one another.

  8. At the end of class, permit several volunteers to play their One Man Band for the class. Instruct the other students to keep the beat by tapping on their desks or laps.

  9. Encourage students to create their real-life own One Man Band using items in the classroom or around their homes! How many different "instruments" can they play at a time while still maintaining a steady beat?

Extension Activities:

Be sure to explore our Shock's Beatbox Game, where students combine their knowledge of phonemic awareness with their awareness of beats and rhythm to create original beat box songs!