The Music of Nature

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Students will create their own instruments using natural materials and make up a beat and song in small groups to show what they have learned throughout the week about stewardship.


  • Students will be able to create a musical instrument with natural materials in a way that does not harm the natural environment.
  • Students will be able to think critically about what they have learned about stewardship throughout their week at IslandWood.
  • Students will be able to work in small groups to create a song and beat representing stewardship.



The completed songs and any lyrics they wrote in their journals can serve as summative assessment pieces. This is a great follow-up to a formative assessment piece on stewardship on Monday, in which the students write down what stewardship means to them.


Age group: 4th – 6th grade
Venue: Any Wild Zone
Time: 30 - 45mins
Masking tape

The Lesson Plan:

Introduction (5 mins):

Start by allowing kids a minute or two of free explore time in a Wild Zone. Gather them back up, and then give them the simple instructions to go make a musical instrument out of natural materials. Emphasize that they need to be good stewards and not pull anything off of plants or trees. Also emphasize safety with the sticks and rocks – keep them below the waist and do not hit them on things in a way that could be harmful to anyone nearby. Offer masking tape if they are interested.


Activities (20 mins):

5 mins – While the students are gathering materials to make a musical instrument, make your own instrument.

5 mins – Call all of the kids back, and circle them up. Go around the circle and have each student make a short beat with their instrument, with everyone listening closely and applauding each beat. Students can try to repeat the beat with their unique instruments after the student has performed it.

15 mins – Divide the group into groups of about 3 or 4 kids. Tell them to find a spot away from the other groups and come up with a song about what stewardship means to them. They can use their instruments, singing, dancing, and any other forms of expression for this song. Provide them with their journals and pencils to write down lyrics, if they need it. While they are working, both the instructor and the chaperone can circulate among the groups and help them if they need guidance. This is also intended to be a team building challenge, so try to limit adult intervention.


Discussion (10 min):

After each group has come up with their song, give time and space for them to perform it and explain a little about why they chose what they did, and how it represents what stewardship means to them.

-What sounds of nature do you normally hear? How are we contributing to the sounds of nature?
-In what ways can we be good stewards during this activity?
-Why do you think it might be important that even when we are using natural materials for our own enjoyment and use, we ensure that we are using them in a way that does not have a serious negative impact?


Debrief Questions:

-What are some of the ways you showed how you were a good steward this week?

-What role did teamwork play in this activity? How about this week as a whole?

-Is stewardship easier or harder when you’re working together with others?

-How can you go and share what you have learned about stewardship this week?


Additional Resources:

Written by Katie Amrhein, IW EEC Class of 2014