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Subject: Mathematics

#3638. Subtracting Monkeys

Mathematics, level: Kindergarten
Posted Wed Feb 1 12:01:11 PST 2006 by Carey Sherwood (
West End Elementary, Easley, USA
Materials Required: 5 monkey puppets, 1 alligator puppet, dry erase/chalk board, Dr. Jean & Friends CD
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Subracting Concrete Objects

Subject: Mathematics

Objective: The students will begin subtracting by acting out the words to a song.

Procedure: Before the lesson make 5 monkey puppets and one alligator puppet. I use small laminated drawings attached to popsicle sticks.

Teach students the song “Monkeys and the Alligator” using the Dr. Jean and Friends CD.

(Five) little monkeys swinging from a tree,
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me.”
Along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be
And SNAP that monkey right out of that tree.

(Repeat song with four, three, two, one.)

After students are familiar with the song, select 5 students to hold the monkey puppets and 1 to be the alligator. Have everyone sing the song together, taking away one money each time.

Write out subtraction problems on the board to go along with each verse of the song.

5 – 1 = ___
4 – 1 = ___
3 – 1 = ___
2 – 1 = ___

Use the puppets to solve each problem. The alligator should serve as the subtraction sign. Just as alligators took the monkeys away, the subtraction sign takes numbers away. After students have mastered subtracting by one, you can continue using the puppets to solve more difficult problems. The alligator should help students remember to take away instead of add.