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White Water Rafting Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MUS0200
Submitted by: D. Kelley
Email: dkelley88@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: St. Patrick, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada Date: December 29, 1999

Grade Level: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


  • Arts/Music
  • Language Arts/Writing (composition)

Duration: 1 hour Description: Take students on a virtual white water rafting trip while introducing them to classical music.

Goals: Students will develop an appreciation for classical music.

Objectives: Students will create a piece of art to demonstrate their understanding, or they will re-tell the story in their own words.


  • recording of Smetena’s The Moldau
  • paper
  • pencils or pens
  • pencil crayons

* Make sure you listen to the recording a couple of times before your white water rafting trip. Discuss with students how we communicate; brainstorm and list answers on blackboard. Someone should come up with ‘music’ as a form of communication. Ask if words to the music are necessary for communicating. Tell the students that you are going to take them on a white water rafting trip in Europe on a river called, The Moldau. They need to place their heads on their desks and keep their eyes closed and hands and feet in at all times. If they don’t they will ruin the adventure for themselves and for their classmates. If they are asked to do a physical activity, they are to do it in their mind only.

Play the piece of music and narrate as you go. (This is where listening to the music ahead of time comes in.) Start the students in their rafts at the source of the river, which is actually two small rivers that feed together. Tell them they must paddle until they are in the main river. Once there, they can pull their paddles in. They will then go into a tall, old forest. Tell them to observe the different animals feeding at the river and walking along the river bank. Eventually have them notice a fox that is running, panting, and out of breath. Tell them that the fox is being hunted by hunters on horseback with hunting dogs. After a little while, the fox crosses the river and escapes to live another day. (Whew!)

The students will then sail a little further to a clearing that is set up for a big feast. They will dock their rafts quietly while they watch the wedding feast and the wedding dance. They will observe a lot of food, including pigs roasting on spits, huge wedding cakes, and desserts. They will see people doing a folk dance. (You will probably have to give some descriptions.) As the wedding ends and most people leave the site of the wedding, they will notice that some people have fallen asleep at the table and that there is still a lot of food left. It is now getting dark out, and they will see little lights coming from under mushroom caps and from hollows of trees. These lights turn out to be fairies, elves, pixies, and sprights. They have come to clean up the banquet and to take the food home to their families. They move quickly and quietly in order to not wake the people who are resting and recovering from their merriment. They clean up the banquet in short order and then disappear as quickly and quietly as they came, coinciding with the sunrise.

As the sun comes up, we push off from the bank to sail into the middle of the river to continue our journey. They can feel the ebb and flow of the river as it crests beneath the raft. We then hit some rapids, but tell the students not to worry. The water continues to get more rough, and we notice the waterfalls straight ahead. Tell the students to paddle back; they have to paddle harder and harder. It eventually becomes of no use, so they must simply pull in their paddles and hang on to the ropes at the side. As they plunge over the falls, tell them to hold their breath when they get sucked under the surface.

When they resurface, tell them they have not only survived, but that there is a huge castle up ahead and that the royalty is waving to them.
There are trumpeters standing on the parapet welcoming us. There are ladies-in-waiting, knights, and a full color guard with flags of many colors. We will then drift out of the main current and up to the moat where we will tie up our raft. Tell the students to stay in the seated position until the two corners have hit the dock. (They will know when; it’s the very end of the music!)

Assessment: At the end of the music, have students raise their hands to tell you what they saw. Have four or five students give descriptions. Then hand out paper to have them draw or write:

1) a story map
2) their favorite scene
3) a couple of scenes
4) a re-telling of the story
* As the students are writing or drawing, play the music again so that they can relive their adventures.