Lesson Plan

Lesson: Instruments and Tempo
Time: 60+ mins


In this lesson, students will unleash their inner musician as they generate computer music using musical notes, different instruments, and a variety of tempos! Note: Modules in this lesson include a listening component, so headphones (1 per student) are recommended.

Code Blocks

  • : Set the project’s tempo (music speed) to the specified number of beats per minute.
  • : Play the specified note for the specified number of beats.
  • : Play the specified kind of drum for the specified number of beats.
  • : Set the current instrument to the instrument specified by the parameter.


  • Musical instrument: An object or device that makes musical notes or sounds


Students will...
  • Use various instrument sounds
  • Apply coding concepts to generate music
  • Create a music machine


  • Computers, laptops, or mobile devices (1 per student) with student account access to Tynker.com
  • Headphones (1 per student)

Warm-Up (15 minutes)

  • Get students familiar with instruments mentioned in this lesson by playing a guessing game! Do a quick image search on the internet for the following instruments: cowbell, electric snare drum, piano, piano keyboard.
  • Using your projector, show your students an image of the instrument and ask them to guess its name. Who can guess the most instruments correctly?

Activities (45 minutes)

Facilitate as students complete all Instruments and Tempo modules on their own:
1. Button Sounds Example (Example)
  • This module is an example of a musical project, where each button plays a different musical note.
  • Tell students to click (for web) or tap (for mobile) the buttons in sequence to play a song.
2. Button Sounds (DIY)
  • This DIY (do-it-yourself) project guides students through the process of programming each button to play music notes using the “play note” code block. Tell students to set each button to a different note by changing the number in the “play note” block.
  • Optional: Ask students, “If you change the number for the note from 60 to 100, what happens to the sound?” (The sound gets higher)
  • Did students finish early? Encourage them to add multiple “play note” blocks to each button. If they modify the pitch of each note, they can make a simple song!
3. Drum Machine Example (Example)
  • In this module, students will view an example of an interactive beatbot drum machine!
  • To play the instruments, students need to click (web) or tap (mobile) on the buttons.
4. BeatBot Drum Machine (DIY)
  • In this DIY project, students will program buttons to play drum sounds so the BeatBot can beatbox!
  • This module introduces the “play drum” block, which only plays percussion sounds. Encourage student to try out all sorts of drum sounds. See who can drum the best beat!
  • Do students want to play quicker rhythms? Encourage them to change the duration of notes to around “0.1”
  • Did students finish early? Encourage them to program the Beatbot to dance along with the beat!
5. Set the Tempo (Puzzle)
  • To solve this puzzle module, students will need to adjust the tempo so the notes match the animation.
  • Encourage students to watch the keys carefully, then determine if they need to set their tempo to a higher or lower value. A tempo of 120 beats per minute will win the game!
6. Build a Piano Example (Example)
  • In this module, students will view an example of an interactive piano.
  • Tell students to press the piano keys to play a sound.
7. Build a Piano (DIY)
  • Now it’s time for your students to create their own piano using Tynker! In this DIY project, students will need to program each key. Note: All the Actors (piano keys) have already been created for the student.
  • Emphasize to students that “Step 2/4” includes a helpful diagram of the piano keys and names of the notes.
  • Optional: Encourage students to play the intro to a popular song or play a simple tune (e.g., “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”)
  • Did students finish early? Encourage them to experiment with the code to create an automatic piano!
8. Build an Alien Piano Example (Example)
  • This project is similar to the previous one, but instead of a standard piano, your students will view a bizarre alien piano!
  • Tell students to press the keys to play a sound.
9. Build an Alien Piano (DIY)
  • In this DIY project, students will create a piano that’s out of this world!
  • Are students struggling to adjust the key to a sound they want? Direct their attention to “Step 2/5" of the tutorial, which includes a list of different note values for each key.
  • Did students finish early? Encourage them to make the piano keys sounds even more strange by adding a second note to the keys’ code, with the same pitch but a different instrument. Who can make the most bizarre alien piano?

Extended Activities (10 minutes)

More Practice
  • Encourage students to practice the programming skills they learned in this lesson while developing their musical ear by creating a unique keyboard!
  • Ask students to follow a theme such as nature or animal sounds. Encourage them to create whatever they think would make an interesting instrument!

U.S. Standards

  • CCSS-Math: MP.1
  • CCSS-ELA: RF.1.1, RF.2.4, RF.2.4.A, RF.3.4.A, RF.4.4.A, RI.2.6
  • CSTA: 1B-AP-10, 1B-AP-11, 1B-AP-15
  • CS CA: 3-5.AP.12, 3-5.AP.13, 3-5.AP.17
  • ISTE: 1.c, 1.d, 4.d, 5.c, 5.d, 6.b
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Class Presentations

These student-facing slide presentations help educators seamlessly run Tynker lessons in a virtual or physical classroom setting. Each lesson has its own set of slides that introduce the big ideas, suggest unplugged activities, and include a section for each activity module. While running lesson slides, you can switch back and forth between the activity, the slides, answer keys and other lesson materials.
A sample slide presentation is available for your review. Please log in to view all the class presentations available with your plan..
Lesson 1
27 Slides
Lesson 2
Loops and Animation
19 Slides
Lesson 3
Creating a Scene
21 Slides
Lesson 4
Jumping over Obstacles
20 Slides
Lesson 5
23 Slides
Lesson 6
User Interaction
19 Slides
Lesson 7
Guessing Game
22 Slides
Lesson 8
20 Slides
Lesson 9
Alien Invaders
17 Slides
Lesson 10
Music and Animation
18 Slides
Lesson 11
Instruments and Tempo
19 Slides
Lesson 12
Broadcasting Messages
18 Slides
Lesson 13
Time Limits
17 Slides
Lesson 14
Message Driven Programming
18 Slides
Lesson 15
Pop the Balloon
18 Slides
Lesson 16
Animation with Movement
18 Slides
Lesson 17
Obstacle Course
19 Slides