Mealtime: Same/Different

Math Lesson for:

Infants

Content Area:

Algebra
Data Analysis and Probability
Numbers and Operations

Routine:

Mealtime

Mealtime: Same/Different

Lesson plan for infants 0 to 6 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 0 to 6 months.

Play: Infants begin by using their eyes to explore toys and then begin to use their hands and mouths to explore. Their play is primarily shaking, banging and mouthing. At the end of this stage, they begin to look for dropped toys and may find a partially hidden object.

Communication: Young infants recognize their parents and familiar caregivers. They smile and laugh during playful interactions such as peek-a-boo. They make early cooing and babbling sounds.

Motor: When placed on their tummies, infants learn to hold up their heads and reach for toys. They begin to reach and grasp for objects, beginning with the caregivers’ clothes and hair and then moving on to toys and objects. At the end of this stage, many infants may help hold their own bottles and help bring the bottles to their mouths. They may also begin to take pureed food from a spoon.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Bib
  • Bottle
  • Two Identical Spoons 
  • Bowl
  • Pureed fruits and vegetables

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 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Bottle-Feeding: Young infants understand SAME and DIFFERENT though routine. The daily routine of feeding the baby by placing the bib on first and then giving the infant the bottle teaches the infant the concept of SAME. To help an infant begin to understand the concept of DIFFERENT, show the infant the bib and bottle before feeding time begins. When working with a very young infant, encourage the infant to look from one object to the other. If the infant is already reaching, encourage the infant to reach for both.

Spoon-Feeding: When spoon-feeding, allow the infant to hold an empty spoon. In between bites, tap your spoon against the infant’s spoon and say: “SAME.” Then tap your spoon against the bowl and say: “DIFFERENT.”  When the meal is finished, allow the infant to play with the spoons and an empty bowl. When the infant picks up a spoon, pick up the other spoon and tap it against the spoon in the infant’s hand and say: “SAME.” Then pick up the bowl and tap the bowl against the spoon that the infant is holding and say: “DIFFERENT.”

 

Mealtime: Same/Different

Lesson plan for infants 6 to 12 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 6 to 12 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, play is mostly shaking, banging and mouthing toys. By the end of this stage, infants begin to combine objects that go together in play. They reach for and hold two objects and may begin to reach for a third. Many infants will look for dropped toys and find partially and completely hidden toys. Many infants enjoy taking objects out of containers and putting them back in.

Communication: At this age, infants respond when their names are called. They may turn their heads, make eye contact and sometimes smile and vocalize. They may look for family members and pets when called by name. They may respond to simple requests made with gestures, such as: “Come here.” They may understand “No” or “Stop.” They may lift their arms to be picked up, clap hands and wave bye-bye. They love to shout and squeal and may be babbling with many different sounds. They may be participating in and sometimes initiating peek-a-boo.

Motor: During this stage, many infants begin to sit by themselves and play. They begin to move by rolling, crawling and cruising. They pick up toys by using a raking motion with their whole hand and, by the end of this stage, they are using their fingers and thumbs to pick up small objects. They may feed themselves small bits of food.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Bib
  • Two identical sippy cups 
  • Two identical spoons 
  • Two bowls 
  • Food (mashed and finger foods)

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 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Cup Drinking: Pour only small amounts of liquid into each sippy cup. When the infant picks up a cup, say: “Cup.” Then pick up the other cup, tap it against the cup that the infant is holding and say: “SAME, two cups.” Next, tap a spoon against the cup that the infant is holding and say: “DIFFERENT, one spoon and one cup.” Hold up one sippy cup and wait for the infant to tap his/her sippy cup against the cup that you are holding. If the infant does this, say: “SAME, two cups.” If the infant does not imitate and tap your cup, tap the infant’s cup with your cup and say: “SAME, two cups.” Hold up one spoon and wait for the infant to tap his/her sippy cup against the spoon that you are holding. Then say: “SAME, two cups.” If the infant does not imitate and tap the spoon, tap the infant’s cup with the spoon and sayDIFFERENT, one cup and one spoon.”

Spoon Feeding: Prepare two small bowls with DIFFERENT foods (e.g., pears and sweet potatoes). Offer the infant two spoonfuls of pears. With the first spoonful, say: “Pears.” With the second spoonful, say: “Pears, SAME.” Offer the infant a spoonful of sweet potatoes and say: “Sweet potatoes, DIFFERENT.” Continue offering the infant spoonfuls of food, sometimes the SAME twice in a row and sometimes alternating, saying the name of the food with each spoonful and stating whether it is the “SAME” as or “DIFFERENT” from the previous spoonful.

Finger Foods: Place two types of finger foods on the infant’s tray (e.g., Cheerios and bits of banana). Allow the infant to begin finger feeding. Pick up a Cheerio and a piece of banana and ask: “Cheerio or banana?” Allow the infant to choose. If the infant chooses the SAME food that he/she previously chose from the tray, say: “(Name of food) SAME.” If the infant chooses the other food, say: “(Name of food) DIFFERENT.” Continue to allow the infant to feed himself/herself, naming the food as the infant picks it up. Say: “(Name of food)  SAME” if the infant chooses the SAME food and  “(Name of food) DIFFERENT” if the infant chooses the other.

Mealtime: Same/Different

Lesson plan for infants 12 to 18 months

Step 1: Review developmental stage: 12 to 18 months.

Play: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are imitating the use of everyday objects such as cups and spoons. This moves into early pretend play, when the infant may feed you or pretend to drink from a cup or eat off of an empty spoon. They also are great imitators and may enjoy imitating daily activities. They may enjoy putting multiple objects into containers and systematically searching for hidden toys and objects. Many infants will pat pictures in books and sometimes vocalize while looking at books.

Communication: At the beginning of this stage, many infants begin to respond to one-step directions such as: “Give me the ball.” They may need gestures to help them understand the direction. At the end of this stage, many infants follow a related two-step direction without the help of gestures, such as: “Get the ball and give it to Daddy.” They may be pointing to ask for wants and needs and to ask you to name objects. At around 12 months of age, many infants say one to three words on their own and, by the end of this stage, may say up to 15 words or more. Many infants play turn-taking games at this stage.

Motor: At the beginning of this stage, many infants are crawling and cruising to get around and, by the end of this stage, infants are walking with good balance. They may also enjoy walking while carrying large objects and pulling toys. When given a crayon for the first time, they may mouth the crayon or mark the paper. By the end of this stage, many infants are scribbling on paper. They may be starting to scoop food with a spoon and actually get some to their mouths. Infants may also be using a straw or an open cup to drink.

Step 2: Gather materials.

  • Bib
  • Two identical open cups
  • Two identical spoons 
  • Two bowls 
  • Table food

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 3: Engage infant in lesson activities.

Cup Drinking: Pour only small amounts of liquid into each open cup. When the infant picks up a cup, say: “Cup.” Then pick up the other open cup and tap it against the cup that the infant is holding. Say: “SAME, two cups.” Next, tap a spoon against the cup that the infant is holding and say: “DIFFERENT, one spoon and one cup.” Hold up one open cup and wait for the infant to tap his/her open cup against the cup that you are holding. Say: “SAME, two cups.” If the infant does not imitate you and tap your cup, tap the infant’s cup with your cup and say: “SAME, two cups.” Hold up one spoon and wait for the infant to tap his/her open cup against the spoon that you are holding. Say: “SAME, two cups.” If the infant does not imitate you and tap the spoon, tap the infant’s cup with the spoon and say: “DIFFERENT, one cup and one spoon.”

Spoon-Feeding: Prepare two small bowls with DIFFERENT foods (e.g., pears and sweet potatoes). Assist the infant hand over hand to scoop some pears onto the spoon and bring it to the infant’s mouth. Repeat with a second spoonful of pears and say: “Pears, SAME.” Assist the infant hand over hand to scoop some sweet potatoes onto the spoon and bring the spoon to his/her mouth and say: “Sweet potatoes, DIFFERENT.”  Continue helping the infant spoon-feed, sometimes with the SAME food twice in a row and sometimes with alternating foods, saying the name of the food with each spoonful and stating whether it is the “SAME” or “DIFFERENT” from the previous spoonful.

Finger Foods: Place two types of finger foods on the infant’s tray (e.g., Cheerios and bits of banana). Allow the infant to begin finger feeding. Pick up a Cheerio and a piece of banana and ask: “Cheerio or banana?” Allow the infant to choose. If the infant chooses the SAME food that he/she previously chose from the tray, say: “(Name of food) SAME.” If the infant chooses the other food, say: “(Name of food) DIFFERENT.” Continue to allow the infant to feed himself/herself, naming the foods as the infant picks them up and saying: “(Name of food) SAME” if the infant chooses the SAME food and “(Name of  food) DIFFERENT” if the infant chooses the other food.

How might you teach the math lesson SAME and DIFFERENT during other daily activities and routines?

What books do you have in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of SAME and DIFFERENT?

What songs or finger plays do you typically use in your child care setting that reinforce the math concept of SAME and DIFFERENT?

Comment on this lesson