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Pop Its in the Music Room

I feel like everyone knows what they are but these things seem to have come out of nowhere and students were instantly obsessed. Part of my personal pedagogy is that if the students are into it, find a way to incorporate it into a music lesson. I asked on instagram if anyone else wanted some ideas on how to use them in the music room and many of you responded saying that you want some ideas! I've already gone ahead and did some testing for you in terms of how well the sharpies last on the pop its. Pop Its are usually made out of silicone. The sharpie when it first goes on is very opaque and with one swipe of the finger, it will come off what's left is almost like a stain on the pop it. It's a little faded but if your pop it is lighter in colour, the faded sharpie will look just fine! Check out these test photos below. I even wiped the faded one with a Lysol wipe and the 'stain' remained the same!



All of these ideas are intended for music centers considering that many of us may buy these with our own money or may get a few from your school. If you get a class set, that's fantastic and you can do these activities all together! Also, since these are double sided, you can create different versions of each activity on each side. Let's get into them!


Composition (Rhythmic & Melodic)

All you need to set this up this pop it music center is:

- Pop its

- Sharpie marker

- Dice


Prep: Directly on the pop it bubbles, draw quarter notes, eighth notes, rests and whatever else your students are capable of (in the case of a melodic composition, you would just write the letters A to G.)


Activity: For each pop it, there needs to be one die. Students roll the die and whichever number they land on, they count across and on the last number they land on, they push it down. At the end, all of the circles that are still raised are part of their composition. Depending on the size of your pop it, this could be a very long composition so the other way to play is: whichever number they get, they push down all of those and then when they roll again, they skip one (leaving it raised) and push down however many they roll after that.


Time Signature

All you need to set this up this pop it music center is:

- Pop its

- Sharpie marker

- Dice

- White board

- White board marker


Prep: Directly on the pop it circles, draw quarter notes, eighth notes, rests and whatever else your students are capable of (this one is only going to work for rhythms.)


Activity: The mechanics of this activity is the same as the composition one above with the exception that once the students are finished and have pushed their little bubbles down, they then copy down their rhythms onto a white board. You can set the goal for them to draw bar lines so that their composition reflects a 4/4 time signature or whichever one you are working on!


Symbol Recognition

All you need to set this up this pop it music center is:

- Pop its

- Sharpie marker

- Dice

- Symbol cards


Prep: Directly on the pop it bubble, draw any of the western music symbols that you want your students to learn to recognize. You can draw as many as you want, keeping in mind that we want some that repeat as well. Make cards of your own or if you have word wall posters like these, print them and laminate them for the center. Print multiple per page to get smaller cards that are perfect for your music center.


Activity: Students can shuffle the cards and keep them faced down. Taking turns, one students can flip the card over to reveal the symbol they have to find and the students go through their pop it grid and push down all bubbles with that symbol. This fun activity they can play multiple times, race each other to see how can find them the fastest and because they are double sided, you can do different symbols on the back!


I hope these ideas give you some confidence to try something new and introduce and manipulative to your students that you know they already love!


The Pop Its you see in my photos are from Amazon! They have so many different kinds and colours to choose from but I feel like the square, circle and hexagon shapes are best for our purposes and for storage.


If you try this out with your students I want to know! Tag me in posts or stories @musicpluscoffee or shoot me an email at gina@musicpluscoffee.

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with Gina Vidak