Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



One Fish, Red Fish

Children will sort, count and record piles of colored Goldfish Cheddar Crackers.

Content Area Standard Target
  • Number and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions
  • Count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
Increase your knowledge
Print this lesson (PDF file)
Share with parents (Word DOC)
Comment on this lesson
Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • The book, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr Seuss
  • Fish Recording Sheet.  Five columns of fish (for the fish colors of crackers) and space below each column to write the total number of fish


Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. Children place one fish on each fish on the recording sheet.  Have the children color the fish the same color as the crackers.  When they are done placing the fish in their pile, they count how many they have of each color and write the number in the space below.
  2. When they are done sorting, counting and tallying their goldfish, bring the children together to compare answers.  If you use the entire carton, make a classroom graph combining all the children’s results.
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. Children can add the results of different colors together and add the number in total of fish they counted and sorted.
  2. Have the children sort the goldfish by more than one attribute.  Sort by size and color. 

Additional Extensions

  • Work with addition.  Have the children combine 2 colors and add them together.  “If you have 3 green and 5 yellow, how many goldfish do you have altogether?”


Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Count – To identify the amount of something by number
  • Sort – To seperate items according to a given attribute
  • Compare – To esimate, measure or note the similarity or dissimilarity between two or more things
  • Tally – To use marks to record counting (e.g., to count by 5s to get the total)
  • Add – Increase in amount or number

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Not yet have one-to-one correspondence

Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Count from 0–20.
  • Sort by a common attribute.

Home child care providers may:

  • Just have the children sort the goldfish into colors.


Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children add the results of different colors together and add the number, in total of fish they counted and sorted.

  • Have the children sort the goldfish by more than one attribute.  Sort by size and color. 
Books Books
  • Sorting (Math Counts) by Henry Pluckrose (CT: Children's Press, 1995)
  • Counting Kisses:  A Kiss & Read Bookboard Book by Karen Katz (New York: Little Simon, 2003)
  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Counting Fun Book Board Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrat (New York: HarperFestival, 2000)
Music and movement Music and Movement
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • This can be a great Fall activity rich with opportunity.  The children can collect different types of leaves and the children can sort, categorize and create patterns using the leaves the have collected.  Glue the leaves onto a piece of construction paper in the pattern that the children have created.  They can create patterns by color, type of leaf (Maple, Oak) or size of leaf.


Explore links Web Resources




Empty speech bubbleComment on this lesson




To report a problem with the site, please email us.

© 2011. M.A.T.H.