I found out last week that my 4th graders will be going on a field trip to the Symphony. How exciting! However, they will be going in two weeks! Eek!!!
Although we discuss, listen to, and learn about instruments from K-5, I usually teach the instruments of the orchestra in the spring semester of 4th grade with a complete review in 5th (before they make those important middle school decisions). The orchestra unit can take a good month or so and is quite extensive (multiple websites, multiple Youtube views, worksheets, games, group activities, etc).
So, I need to cram it in - NOW!
I love the SFS kids website - great resource for teaching the instruments.
I created four folder games (love using manila folders as game holders - I've used quite a few to great success and the are sturdy and easy to store) - one for each instrument family.
The students will complete the activity in four stations (they rotate from family to family). Each group has a leader, or "conductor" to help distribute materials, encourage on-task behavior, and let me know of any problems. While the students are working, I'll play some favorite orchestral selections for them to listen to (4 5-minute or so selections - when the music stops - it is time to rotate). I always call out nuggets of wisdom, such as, "Listen for the oboe solo coming up" or "Did you hear the timpani? Wow, forte for sure!"
You can download these games for free here: