Group 1 - The train:
The train group chooses a pathway for how they will travel to the four corners of the room, as well as their quality of movement - consider weight, size, and levels. Students may choose to create one long single file line of trains. They may choose to create “walls” of the train and have other “passengers” inside. The choice is theirs, as long as they are safe and kind in the process!
This requires imagination, problem-solving, and communication skills, so depending upon how much experience your students have working together in this way, you can consider dividing into two trains. Each train will still follow the same pathway at the same time, but the collaborative element will be simpler with a smaller group as they consider the specific qualities of their movement.
A smaller group - between three and five students - is appropriate for this activity.
Group 2 - Rhythm composition:
In each corner of the room, place percussion instruments such as tubanos, congas, or a set of bongos. (It is best to choose an instrument that can be played with two hands so students can effectively play a beat divided by four sounds.) On a music stand, students arrange cards to create a 4 beat composition. When the train gets to their corner, students play their composition 4 times in a row.
This requires musical independence and understanding of form. The first time you play this game, I recommend two or three students at each rhythm station.
Group 3 - The beat and the rhythm:
Students can play a steady beat bordun on the tonic and dominant while other students play the rhythm of the words on woodblocks, with rhythm sticks on the floor or table, or with body percussion. It is important that all students in this group sing while they play their parts!
The purpose of this third group is for every child to have a “job” to do during the song. This group can be larger since students don’t necessarily need to collaborate in the activity.
With a larger class, or if you have limited instrumentation, you could further divide this group by creating a “choir” whose only job it is to sing.