Learning activities/Class Orchestra

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Notes from Nigeria 5/07


I thought of making a digital-acoustic orchestra... The acoustic part was much louder, and it ended up being only acoustic and kinetic. We started; each row was a different instrument. 'Instrument' meant making a certain kind of sound. It started quietly, but little by little everybody wanted to be louder and louder. The principal came to see why the children were so noisy. When she saw that it was me making all the racket, she asked what it was about. I told her we were an orchestra and asked the children to show her, but she just laughed and told me to enjoy myself. We changed the orchestra for a combination of different sounds and movements, where each student authored one, and we added them to the ensemble. The whole activity lasted less than 20 minutes. However, it was fun for all and required lots of physical coordination and good memory. Break time came but everybody wanted to stay in the classroom. Finally they left to play outside. --Carla Gomez Monroy, Learning Consultant, OLPC

Task: Adapt This Story

Help adapt this story into a learning activity for children around the world.

What kinds of activities do we want? Read our educational activity guidelines to understand our vision for learning. Or, take a look at some sample learning activities to get a sense of what we're looking for.

Does this activity look good to you? Try it in your classroom and use the discussion page to tell us how it went. Or, use one of our activity templates to create a related activity and link to it below.

Activity: Class Orchestra


Turn your class into an orchestra and put on a show!


  1. As a class, introduce the concept of an orchestra. Explain that it means many instruments playing together.
  2. Use miniTamTam to learn what various instruments sound like.
  3. Divide into groups; each group will be an instrument or section of the orchestra.
  4. Allow each group to practice its part.
  5. Allow each group to perform its part for the class.
  6. Then, "conduct" the class in a class orchestra.

Ideas for Expansion


Students create music with TamTam.


Students work together as sections of the orchestra. Each group may select a "composer," a "recorder," a "section conductor," etc. The class may select an orchestra "conductor" to lead the performance.


Students can use TamTam to accompany vocal performances. They can use TamTam to play familiar songs.


Students can review the performance with Write. They can document the performance with Capture. They can research other orchestras with Browse.


This activity can be used as an entry into a discussion of musical notation systems, of how sound works, of how songs are linked to national and cultural identities, etc.


Students can use TamTam to record their performance. They can also use Capture to take pictures and video.

Related Activities


Comments, feedback, links to other classes using this activity.