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Engine, Engine, Number 9, this “Tempo Train” lesson helps you keep time


Music, P.E. & Health  


1, 2  

Title – Tempo Train
By – Angela Portocarrero
Primary Subject – Music
Secondary Subjects – Health / Physical Education
Grade Level – 1-2

Materials needed:

  • Conga Drum ,
  • A visual of the Tempos either on cards, a sheet or on the white board.
        Presto = very fast

        Allegro= fast

        Adante = walking pace

        Adagio = slow pace

      Largo = very slow pace
  • Silver Burdett Grade 1 Teacher Edition and Cd Series for Music recordings, Song and Lyrics (optional)
  • A visual of the words to Freight Train.
  • A Visual of the Words to Engine, Engine, Number 9
        Engine, Engine, number 9

        Going Down Chicago Line

        If the train goes off the track,

      Do you want your money back?

Introduce the tempo by playing the song Freight Train and let students listen and pat a steady beat. Stop the CD after the introduction and before the singing begins and ask what happened to the steady beat?

Discuss how the train speed changes when it begins or stops.

You may play the recording and let students follow you about the room and then to the circle formation while patting and walking the beat.

1. First have students move about to the various tempos Repeat this but tell the students what tempo this is (give them clues to help them link the Italian terms to the tempo like Adagio is a slow tip toe and people tip toe slow as to not make any sounds.)

2. Next teach the poem Engine, Engine, Number 9

3. Have the students recite the poem at the various tempos

4. Lead the students to a circle or about the room saying the poem while walking the beat and patting the beat.

Each time indicate what tempo we are saying.

5. Next have the students play the game tempo train game. One person stands in the middle of the circle and is the conductor who decides what the tempo will be. The engineer stands at the conga drum and asks the conductor how fast does he want the train to go and the engineer plays the steady beat on the conga while the students walk and pat the beat and say the poem Engine, Engine, Number 9. The conduct spins about with one hand over eyes and then picks someone who has not had a turn, the conductor becomes the engineer and the engineer joins the circle. Repeat until all have had a turn.

It may be helpful to have a visual of the Italian tempos for the students to look at.

6. Next teach the song freight train.

Have students read words, recite them in rhythm while keeping a steady beat, then have them compare the phrases to see if the melody repeats or not.

Have them echo small segments of the song, then sing the song.

7. Once they know the song have students move and walk song and pat beat while singing

In the silver Burdett TE Grade 1, page 45, there is another movement game about tempos that may also be a great follow up on this activity.

E-Mail Angela Portocarrero !

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