The Iron Rod – 3/4 versus 4/4 for Older Children

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Prep – put bundles of 20 rhythm sticks under each teacher’s chair and post these words at the front of the room

(Nephi, time, vision, God, …in, ..lime, shown, rod.

Hold, rod, iron, rod, strong, bright, true, (no word), iron, rod, word, God, safely, guide, through.)

Tell the children, “Here’s the pattern. Watch it and see if you can tell me words to describe it.” Start the 3/4 pattern (patsch, pop, pop left,… patsch, pop, pop right). Ask the children, “How would you describe this pattern?” Receive their answers.

Tell the children, “Let’s do the pattern together. Ready?” Start the 3/4 pattern to the steady beat, saying one word clues to help as you move such as patsch, pop left, pop, (switch… you have to say that one quickly without inserting another beat!) patsch, pop right, pop, etc.. Once you have done the pattern with the children at least twice, start singing the song, “To Nephi, seer of olden time, …” Sing and do the pattern until you finish the verse “iron rod.”

Call out “Freeze! New pattern!” Start the 4/4 pattern. Ask the children to describe the new pattern. Ask them to do the new pattern with you. Patsch, pop, patsch, pop left, patsch, pop, patsch, pop right, repeat. Once they have done the pattern twice through begin singing the verse of the hymn, “Hold to the Rod, …” Sing and do the pattern to the end of the song.

Pick up rhythm sticks. Tell the children, “Using pretend rhythm sticks to practice the action, follow these patterns.” Start the 3/4 pattern and sing the verse. (Patsch, click, click to the left, patsch, click, click to the right). Switch to the 4/4 pattern as you sing the chorus. (Patsch, click left, patsch, click left, patsch, click right, patsch, click right).

Have the teachers now pass out the rhythm sticks to the children. Sing the song and do the two patterns again. Call out “Freeze!”

Point to the words posted in the front of the room. Ask the children to do the rhythm stick pattern with you and sing the word in the song that comes on the patsch. Tell them these words are a hint. Do the pattern and sing only the words that come on the patsch of the pattern.

Nephi, time, vision, God, …in, ..lime, shown, rod

Hold, rod, iron, rod, strong, bright, true, (no word), iron, rod, word, God, safely, guide, through.

Now challenge the children to do the pattern and sing only the words on the Patsch of the pattern, BUT you are going to sing all the rest of the words … NOT the words they are singing!!!

Sing the song, do the patterns, and switch back and forth between you singing and the children singing!

14 Responses

  1. Abbie C

    I love this activity, but I just want to note that the 1st written 4/4 pattern (Patsch, pop, pop, pop left, patsch, pop, pop, pop right, repeat) is not the same as the video. This pattern (Patsch, pop, pop, pop left, patsch, pop, pop, pop right, repeat) lines up with the words listed for them to sing on the patsches, but you will have to add some words (or use every other patsch) if you are going to use the pattern in the video (Patsch, click left, patsch, click left, patsch, click right, patsch, click right). The 4/4 pattern in the video and written after you pick up sticks will patsch about every other word: Hold, rod, i(ron), rod, strong, bright, true, *no words*, i(ron), rod, word, God, safe(ly), guide, through. Or you can use every other patsch using the words listed. I hope this helps and is not too confusing of an explanation.

  2. jocelyn meacham

    I love this!!! Thank you.
    Question? Your video of 4/4 time and your written description don’t match to me. Which is fine. One is done with the hands abs is the written for the sticks maybe?

  3. Wendi Cummings

    We just did this with our Senior Primary today and it was hard, but a lot of fun! They were having a hard time adding music to the pattern. I asked our pianist to help and we split the room in half with one side being the “accompaniment” and the other our “singers” Each group learned either the 3/4 pattern or the 4/4 pattern. While one was doing the pattern, the other side would sing and then they switched. We sang it about 4-5 times and then “put down our instruments” and sang- They sounded beautiful! When we left Primary, they were singing it in the hallways. That is how I know it sunk right in them!

    Side 1 Side 2
    3/4 Pattern Sang the Lyrics

    Side 2 Side 1
    4/4 Pattern Sang the Chorus

  4. JeVonne McDonald Tanner

    I did this last week and the kids loved it! The older kids picked up on the pattern so quickly I was amazed. Needed more time to do the singing only on the patsches. THANK YOU so much!

  5. Sally A Bird

    Sister Dance, I was sure you had posted a wind wand pattern for The Iron Rod but when I went back to brush up on it for Sunday I couldn’t find it. Can you tell me where to find it or post it again. I loved it.

    • Sharla Dance

      Verse: Over the shoulder Left, tap, tap, Over the shoulder Right, tap, tap
      Chorus:Circle 4x, snake on the floor to the right, snake on the floor to the left

  6. Sienna

    Is this what you do for the whole singing time? Do you have warm up songs at all? I’m interested to know how you organize this within the time frame given. Thanks!

    • Sharla Dance

      I teach three songs a week with three different activities. I try to contrast the activities… one with movement for 5 minutes, one with a code or puzzle for older children/visual puzzle for younger children for 7 minutes or so, and one with a story song or silent video for 4 minutes or so. The next week I will teach the same three songs, but with different activities that contrast what with what I did the week before. I think I talk about that planning process in most of the yearly videos that show a workshop. I also talk about it in one of the blogs entitled 2020.

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