Jumping Jacks

In this lesson, children will time themselves and chart their progress as they do sets of jumping jacks.

Math Lesson for:

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

Content Area:

Data Analysis and Probability
Measurement
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
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize and display relevant data to answer these questions
  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems and processes of measurement
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas to determine measurement
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize and display relevant data to answer these questions
  • Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data

Learning Targets:

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

  • Counting with understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
  • Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties
  • Recognizing the attributes of length, volume, weight, area and time
  • Understanding how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
  • Selecting an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured
  • Measuring with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end
  • Using tools to measure
  • Posing questions and gathering data about themselves and their surroundings
  • Representing data using concrete objects, pictures and graphs
  • Discussing events related to students’ experiences as likely or unlikely

Jumping Jacks

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

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. Explain that today the children will be timing the number of jumping jacks that they can do in 10 seconds. Ask: “Does everyone know how to do a jumping jack?” Model how to do a jumping jack.
  2. Before you have the children start their activity, ask them to them wave their hands in the air and time them for 10 seconds to give them an idea of how long 10 seconds is.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Have the children predict how many jumping jacks they can do in 10 seconds. Have them use their recording sheets to keep track of their predictions.
  2. Say: “Ready, set, go!” and begin timing for 10 seconds. Encourage the children to count the number of jumping jacks as they jump.
  3. Say: “Stop!” when the 10 seconds are up. Have the children record the number of jumping jacks completed.
  4. Ask: “Does that number match what you predicted? Did you do more jumping jacks than you predicted? Did you do less jumping jacks than you predicted?” Have them record their results.
  5. Repeat several times. Each time, record the predictions and the actual number of jumping jacks performed. Ask: “Are you getting better at predicting? Which time did you do the most Jumping Jacks?”

Additional Extensions

  • Extend the activity, changing the amount of time allotted for the jumping jacks. Ask: “How many jumping jacks can you do in 15 seconds?  Thirty seconds? Sixty seconds?”
  • Change the exercises. For example, have the children hop on one foot, touch their toes, hop on both feet, etc. Compare the different exercises. Ask: “Can you do more jumping jacks in 10 seconds or more one-footed hops in 10 seconds?”

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Estimate: To form an approximate judgment or opinion regarding the amount, worth, size, weight, etc.; calculate approximately (e.g.,”Estimate how many Fruit Loops it will take to fill your hand.”)
  • Predict: To guess what will happen next (e.g.,”Can you predict how many jumping jacks you can do in 10 seconds?”)
  • How many: The total or sum (e.g.,”How many Fruit Loops does it take to fill your hand?”)
  • Count: To identify the amount of something by number (e.g.,”Count the number of jumping jacks that you do in 10 seconds.”)
  • More: A value that is higher or greater in number (e.g.,”Is the actual number of Fruit Loops more than your estimate?”)
  • Less: A value that is smaller in number (e.g.,”Is the actual number of Fruit Loops less than your estimate?”)
  • Second: A unit of time (e.g.,”How many jumping jacks can you do in 10 seconds?”)
  • Number: Describes quantities or values (e.g.,”Record the number of jumping jacks completed.”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Be just beginning to count in sequence
Home child care providers may:
  • Just have the children count the number of exercises that they do in an allotted period of time. “How many jumping jacks can you do in 10 seconds? How many toe touches can you do in 10 seconds?”
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be able to count and be beginning to understand the concept of time
  • Be building stamina and have a lot of energy to burn
Home child care providers may:
  • Extend the activity, changing the amount of time allotted for the jumping jacks. Ask: How many jumping jacks can you do in 15 seconds? Thirty seconds?  Sixty seconds?
  • Change the exercises. Tell the children to hop on one foot, touch their toes and hop on both feet. Compare the different exercises. Ask: “Can you do more jumping jacks in 10 seconds or more one-footed hops in 10 seconds?”

Suggested Books

  • That’s a Possibility! A Book About What Might Happen by Bruce Goldstone (New York: Henry Holt and Co, 2013)
  • Do You Wanna Bet? Your Chance to Find Out About Probability by Jean Cushman (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2007)
  • Telling Time with Big Mama Cat by Dan Harper (New York: HMH Books, 1998)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • Set up a short distance for the children to run and time them either running that distance or skipping or hopping.
  • Time the children doing an activity and see if they can improve their times each time they perform the activity. Lining up or cleaning up a project are great activities to time and then have the children try to improve their times as they repeat the activity. Count out loud as they are doing the activity. Say: “Yesterday, it took us 22 seconds to line up quietly for yard. Let’s see if we can beat that time today and line up quietly in 20 seconds or less.”

Web Resources

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