Apples and Oranges

In this lesson, children will begin to develop an understanding of separating a set into a maximum of four parts.

Math Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers
(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

Content Area:

Numbers and Operations

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers and number systems
  • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Understanding and representing commonly used fractions, such as 1/4, 1/3 and 1/2
  • Understanding situations that involve multiplication and division, such as equal groupings of objects and sharing equally

Apples and Oranges

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • A table with no chairs
  • A set of four child-sized chairs stacked next to the table
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Small paper plates
  • Knife for adult to cut apples and oranges
  • Apple corer

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Before the lesson, stack four chairs and place them next to the table where you will be cutting the fruit and teaching the lesson.
  2. Sit down at the table and invite a small group of children (no more than four) to join you at the table. When the children come to the table, they will notice that they don’t have anywhere to sit.  Invite them to observe. Say: “It looks like you don’t have any chairs to sit on. What should we do to solve this problem?”
  3. Validate the children’s responses. Say: “Great idea! We have chairs right here. Can you help me unstack this set of chairs, so that everyone gets a chair?” As you give a chair to each child, point out: “We have one chair, two chairs, three chairs, four chairs. We have one set of chairs, with four chairs in the set. Does everyone have a chair?  Yes!  Good, now everyone has a part of the set of chairs that has four chairs in it.”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Explain to the children that you have some apples and oranges that you would like to share with them. Give a paper plate to each child.
  2. Take an apple and place it on your cutting plate or board, where everyone can see it. Cut the apple into four equal parts. “Look, I have one set of apple slices. How can we separate the set of apple slices, so that everyone gets a part of the apple? Each child should get an apple slice.”
  3. Validate the children’s responses by acting out the answer. Say: “Okay. Let’s see if that works. I can give part of the apple to you (child #1), part of the apple to you (child #2), part of the apple to you (child #3) and part of the apple to you (child #4). We just separated the one set of apple slices into four parts.” Ask: “Does everyone have a part of the apple? Yes! Good. Now everyone has a part of the one set of apple slices.”
  4. Place the orange on a large paper plate or a cutting board, where everyone can see it.  Cut the orange into four equal parts. Say: “Now I have one set of orange slices.” Ask: “How can we separate the set of orange slices, so that everyone gets a part of the orange?” A child will most likely say that you can give an orange slice to each child.
  5. Validate the children’s responses by acting out the answer. Say: “Okay. Let’s see if that works. I can give part of the orange to you (child #1), part of the orange to you (child #2), part of the orange to you (child #3) and part of the orange to you (child #4).  We just separated the set of orange slices into four parts. Does everyone have a part of the orange? Yes! Good. Now everyone has a part of the set of orange slices.” Emphasize the words SET and PART OF A SET.

Additional Extensions

  • With the same group of four children, cut the apple into eight slices and the orange into eight slices. Say: “I have one set of apple slices and one set of orange slices.” Ask: “How many are in each set?” The children will count and respond, “Eight.” Say: “Good. Now if everyone is to receive an equal (the same) number of apple and orange slices, how many slices would each of the four children get?” If the children have trouble answering this question, act out the distribution of the slices in the same way that you acted out the distribution of the slices in the activity.
  • Use language related to separating sets into parts throughout the day as the opportunity presents itself. On the playground, for example, you can bring out enough balls for the children to play with and then say, “I have a set of balls for you to play with. But I want to divide this set up so that you each get an equal part of the set.” Ask: “How can we separate the set of balls, so that everyone can get a ball?”

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Set: A collection of items
  • Equal: The same in number or amount

 

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Have difficulty understanding the correlation between sets and parts of a set
Home child care providers may:
  • Use verbal, visual and physical cues to help the children figure out what to do (Exaggerate your actions when passing out the apple and orange slices. Use other examples of sets and each child getting a piece of a set.)
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Easily grasp the correlation between a set and the parts of a set
Home child care providers may:
  • With the same group of four children, cut the apple into eight slices and the orange into eight slices. Say: “I have a set of apple slices and a set of orange slices. How many slices are in each set?” The children will count and respond, “Eight.” Say: “Good. Now if everyone is to receive an equal amount of apple and orange slices, how many slices would each of the four children get?” If the children have trouble answering this question, act out the distribution of the slices in the same way that you acted out the distribution of the slices in the activity.
  • Use language related to separating sets into parts throughout the day as the opportunity presents itself. On the playground, for example, you can bring out enough balls for the children to play with and then ask: “How can we separate the set of balls, so that everyone can get a ball?”

Suggested Books

  • Each Orange Had 8 Slices: A Counting Book by Paul Giganti (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1999)
  • The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1989)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • Conduct a scavenger hunt. Say: “We have 10 students in our class. How many rocks will we need to collect so that each child has a rock?” Send the children off to collect a set of 10 rocks and then ask them to  pass out the rocks to each of the students. This can be done with any item. This is also a wonderful fall leaf collection activity.
  • Before going outside, ask: “How many toys will we need to bring outside so that each child has a toy to play with?” Ask the children to collect the set of toys and pass them out to the children.

Web Resources

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