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Lesson Plan for Teaching Preschool Students about Bells

written by: Heather Marie Kosur • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/20/2012

Bells - percussion instruments that make sounds through vibrations after being struck - are the focus of this preschool lesson plan. Bells will be introduced and explored through books, discussion, and activities.

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    Bells

    Young children will love learning about musical instruments with this preschool lesson plan. Bells are musical instruments with a hollow body that is made from metal or wood and is struck to produce a sound [1]. More specifically, bells are idiophones, which are percussion instruments that vibrate when struck [2]. Bells come in many different types including tuned hand bells, cowbells, church bells, jingle bells, chimes, and agogô bells [3]. Bells are also used in many types of music such as religious, holiday, and popular music.

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    Discussion and Prior Knowledge

    http://www.clipart.com/en/close-up?o=3702312&memlevel=A&a=a&q=music%20bell&k_mode=all&s=1&e=49&show=&c=&cid=&findincat=&g=&cc=&page=&k_exc=&pubid= The preschool teacher can introduce the students to bells as a musical instrument by asking the following questions:

    1. What is music?
    2. What is an instrument?
    3. What are bells?

    All preschoolers should be familiar with the concept of music. For example, an answer for the first question might be that music is what plays on the radio or music is what people sing at church. Some young children might also be familiar with musical instruments including bells. If the students cannot answer the first question, then the teacher should review the concept of music. The class will then learn the answers to the second and third questions during this bell lesson.

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    Reading

    After the introduction about bells, the preschool teacher can read one or more of the following musical books about bells for young readers aloud to the class:

    • http://www.amazon.com/Agogo-Bells-Xylophone-Percussion-Instruments/dp/0713643145/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266342525&sr=1-1 Rhythm Band Board Book: Bells (Rockin' Rhythm Band Board Books) by Billy Davis (2000)
    • Agogo Bells to Xylophone: A Friendly Guide to Classroom Percussion Instruments (Percussion Players) by Maggie Cotton (1996)
    • Ring Out! A Book of Bells by Jane Yolen (1974)
    • Bells in Our Lives by Mary Cockett (1973)
    • Bells (A Book to Begin On) by Elizabeth Starr Hill (1970)
    • Bells and Their Music with a Recording of Bell Sounds by Wendell Westcott (1970)

    Music books and encyclopedias that contain sections on bells are other good reading sources for preschoolers.

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    Activities

    http://www.clipart.com/en/close-up?o=2734290&memlevel=A&a=a&q=jingle%20bells&k_mode=all&s=1&e=27&show=&c=&cid=&findincat=&g=&cc=&page=&k_exc=&pubid= After reading about bells, use some fun musical activities to extend the lesson. Some suggested activity ideas are:

    • Allow the children to play with musical bells during music time. Preschoolers can learn to play simple songs or just improvise.
    • Make and play water bells by filling glass cups with different amounts of water. Tap the sides of the glasses with a metal spoon to play the water bells.
    • Listen to music that features bells as a prominent instrument. "Carol of the Bells" is a popular example.
    • Make jingle bells by stringing craft bells onto yarn. Use bells of different sizes to create different sounds.
    • Brainstorm locations of other types of bells. Ideas include school bells, church bells, and the Liberty Bell.
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    Assessment

    At the end of the preschool lesson plan "Bells," the teacher should review what the students learned about the musical instrument by asking the following questions:

    1. What is an instrument?
    2. What are bells?

    The preschoolers should be able to answer both questions correctly after reading one or more books about bells, talking about the instrument, and doing one or more bell activities. Preschool aged children will love learning about this musical instrument through this lesson on bells.

    Sources

    • [1] Musica Viva Encyclopedia: Bell (1): http://musicaviva.com/encyclopedia/display.html?phrase=bell-1
    • [2] Percussion Instruments: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/textp/PercussionInstruments.html
    • [3] What Are Bells?: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-bells.htm

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