"The Right Number of Elephants"
Teacher Name(s): Stephanie Mullins
Date: May 12, 2008
Grade level(s): K
Content Areas: Math, Reading, Writing
Timeline: This lesson will take approximately 45 minutes
Goals/Content and Cognitive:
The students will:
Count back from 10 to 1.
State what comes before and after a given number, 0-10.
Links to Curriculum Standards:
MA-EP-1.1.2 Students will read, write, count, and model whole numbers 0-20 and apply to real-world and/or mathematical situations.
MA-EP-1.1.3 Students will skip-count forward and backward.
AE-1.5-1.9 Students will use mathematical ideas and procedures to communicate, reason, and solve problems.
AE-2.7 Students understand number concepts and use them appropriately and accurately.
AE-2.10 Students understand measurement concepts and use measurement appropriately and accurately.
"What happens when you put your egg in the cup of water?"
"How can you figure out how many squares your egg covered?"
I will use a teacher-made rubric checklist to monitor student performance as well as student work. This checklist is used daily to monitor student progress toward standards-based, developmentally appropriate goals and objectives throughout the year. National and state content are always considered in activity selection stage.
Because a few students had gone to the zoo on a recent break, elephants had become a topic of discussion in our classroom. Since we had been working on becoming fluent with the ideas of "one more" and "one less", I decided to use a literature selection that included elephants and the opportunity to practice "one more" and "one less."
Materials and Resources:
Copy of the book "The Right Number of Elephants" by Jeff Shepard
10 felt elephants (or other material that can be posted for student view)
felt board (or other surface to display elephants)
Literacy response booklets
Magazines for students to cut pictures out of, if they choose
Various types of tracing shapes, animals, objects
A couple of parent or older student volunteers to help class with spelling while teacher is recording assessment information
Learning Activities or Tasks:
To introduce the story, the students will be gathered to the carpet. Students will be encouraged to make predictions about what they think the story will be about. They will also be encouraged to share their experience with elephants. The teacher will read the book asking students to direct how many elephants go on the board. The teacher will then ask the students various number questions, such as before/after, one less/one more, even/odd, etc. When the story is finished and all the elephants have been counted down to 1, conclude the book by asking "If we wanted 0 elephants, what would we need to do?" Discuss the setting, characters, problem, and solution of the book then tell them they will be going back to their tables to work with their group.
Once students are back to their tables have them each get a literacy response form (stored under supply totes in center of table). Tell them they will be making their own books about "The right number of ___________" with whatever they would like to fill in. Tell them they can help each other with spelling, but if they get stuck just raise their hand. Remind them to do illustrations, which can be drawn, pictures cut from magazines, traced from tracing forms, etc. Go over some examples and have them begin.
While students are working on their "The Right Number of _________" books, call up any individuals that did not display counting back during the reading of the story, record results on rubric.
Students with special needs will be included 100%, the teacher and volunteers will just increase prompts as needed to ensure student success. For the writing portion, they can dictate and have someone record their thoughts, if needed. For the counting back, the student can use the elephants as prompts and the number they count back from could be reduced to five, or they could be encouraged to count forward.
Students needing an extra challenge could be given a booklet with no words so that they could write the whole sentence themselves. They could count back from 20 or higher or count back by 2's, 5's, or 10's.
Lesson Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:
Was this lesson worth doing? The students did very well with this lesson and it did not take some of them long to figure out the book was a "counting down" book. You could just the self-confidence on their faces as they were able to correctly predict what the next number of elephants would be.
In what ways was this lesson effective? The students had to use their background knowledge of number and the experiences they have had with moving up and down the number line, to be able to figure out what number comes before another number. The concept of before or one less is always a difficult one for students at this level, therefore, it was a very important lesson.
What evidence do you have for your conclusion? State and National content.
How would you change this lesson for teaching it again? When I teach this lesson again, I will extend it over a couple of days and try to locate stuffed elephants of various sizes for students to measure, like in Vonda Stamm's lesson. We could also compare our heights to those of an elephant. Make and join together several replicas the actual size of an elephant footprint and use to measure various distances in the classroom. The possibilities are endless!
What did you observe your students doing and learning? The students were meeting several of the process standards, including communicating, making connections, problem solving, and reasoning. They were also connecting math with other content areas.
Did your students find the lesson meaningful and worth completing? Since we already had an interest in elephants, the students appeared to be very engaged. They all worked diligently to their various potentials, so I think it was a success! I thought it was a great lesson!