Take a Trip With Rooster

In this lesson, children will predict, sort, add and subtract the various animals that Rooster meets on his trip.

Math Lesson for:

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

Content Area:

Algebra
Data Analysis and Probability

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
  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
  • Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols
  • Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships
  • 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:

  • Developing a sense of whole numbers and representing and using them in flexible ways, including relating, composing and decomposing numbers
  • Understanding the effects of adding and subtracting whole numbers
  • Developing fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction
  • Using a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil and calculators
  • Using concrete, pictorial and verbal representations to develop an understanding of invented and conventional symbolic notations
  • Modeling situations that involve the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, using objects, pictures and symbols
  • Posing questions and gathering data about themselves and their surroundings

Take a Trip With Rooster

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • The book, Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle
  • Graph paper
  • Markers
  • Brown paper lunch bags (one bag per child)
  • 2”x2” animal squares  (each child should have a bag, and each bag should contain 15 squares: one rooster, two cats, three frogs, four turtles and five fish, which can be copied from the book)

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 to the children that they are going to read Rooster’s Off to See the World. On Rooster’s journey, he meets many animals. Ask the children to predict what types of animals Rooster will meet.
  2. Write down the various animals on the piece of graph paper. Make sure the suggestions are organized in a way that resembles a graph and that there is room to keep tallies of the animals that Rooster encounters in the book. When reading the book, pause and make a note when one of the predicted animals is mentioned.
  3. Invite the children to listen to the book. Say: “Now we will read about Rooster’s journey. Raise your hands when you notice an animal. Let’s keep track of all of the different types of animals Rooster meets, as well as how many animals he meets.”
  4. Notice that, on the top right-hand corner of each page of the book, there is a way to keep track of the number and types of animals that Rooster meets along the way. When the book reads: “Just then, he met two cats. The Rooster said: ‘Come along with me to see the world.’ ‘We would love to,’ they purred and set off down the road with Rooster. Say: “Notice, in the corner of the book, that the book has a running total of how many animals are joining Rooster on his trip. There was Rooster and now two cats have joined him. How many animals are now on Rooster’s journey?” (Three) “That’s right. Let’s keep reading to see how many more animals join Rooster.”
  5. Continue reading and making note of the animals that join the journey. You will then get to a page in the middle of the book that has no note of the animals in the corner and shows all of the animals gathered together with fireflies overhead. When the book reads: “After a few minutes of silence, the fish suddenly decided that it might be best if they headed for home. They wished the others a happy trip and swam away.” Ask: “What is happening with the group of animals?” (They are leaving.) “How many animals were there?” (15) Check your chart paper if the children are uncertain. Say: “And now the fish have left. How many animals are there left in the group?” (10) “What do you think is going to happen next?”
  6. Continue reading and making note of the animals that go home.
  7. After finishing the book, check the predictions that the children made earlier. Add the animals that weren’t listed and eliminate the animals that were not in the book. Ask the children to recall the number of each animal in the book. Say: “Ok, there were turtles. How many turtles were there?” (4) Do this for all of the animals, so that the children will have a reference when doing their activity.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Give each child a paper bag filled with animal squares.
  2. Ask the children to take all of the animal squares out of their bags.
  3. Explain that they are going to arrange the animal squares the same way that they appear in the book. “First there was Rooster. Then who did he meet?” (Two cats) “Rooster plus two cats equals how many animals?” (Three) Continue asking questions about how many animals are included in the group each time the children add a new group of animals. If the children have trouble recalling the sequence, have them refer back to the chart paper.
  4. When the children have arranged all of the animals in the sequence that they appeared in the book, begin to have the children take away the animals in the order in which they left the group. “There were 15 animals in the group but then five fish left. How many animals are left in the group?” Continue to do this until all of the animals are gone and put back into the bag.
  5. Using the animal squares, ask questions that will have the children solving the problems by using the squares. “If just the turtles and the cats went on the journey, how many animals would there be? If the fish and frogs went on a journey, how many animals would there be? If the fish, the rooster and the cats were on the journey and the cats decided to go home, how many animals would be left?”
  1. While you are asking these questions, have the children use the animal squares to display their thinking and aid in their calculations.

NOTE: It is helpful to set some rules and expectations around this activity. You do not want the children to call out the answers. Instead, you want them to show you the answer with their manipulation of the animal squares. Before starting the activity, explain that they are going to be doing some adding and subtracting using the animal squares. Say: It is important that everyone has time to think and work out their answers. So I wold like you to raise your hands when you have the answer and I will come over and check on you. Please do not call out. Your raised hand will be the signal that you have the answer. That way, everyone will be able to answer the questions.”

Additional Extensions

  • On an additional piece of paper, have the children write down the number sentences that accompany the questions:
    • “If just the turtles and the cats went on a journey, how many animals would be on the journey altogether?”  (4+2=6)
    • “If just the fish, rooster and cats went on the journey together and the cats decided to go home, how many animals would be left?” (5+1+2-2=6 or 8-2=6)
  • Group the animals.
    • “Can you make three equal groups with all of the animals?”
    • How many animals would be in each group if there were three equal groups?”

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Predict: To guess what will happen next (e.g.,”Predict what types of animals Rooster will meet on his journey.”)
  • Sequence: An ordered set of numbers, shapes or other mathematical objects arranged according to a rule (e.g.,”First there was Rooster and then two cats joined Rooster. So the sequence at this point is Rooster, Cat, Cat. Each new animal is added to the sequence according to when that animal joined the group in the story.”)
  • How many: The total or sum (e.g.,”If just the turtles and the cats went on the journey, how many animals would there be?”)
  • Altogether: In total (e.g.,”If just the turtles and the cats went on a journey, how many animals would be on the journey altogether?”)
  • Take away: To remove something (e.g., Begin to have the children take away the animals in the order in which they left the group.)
  • Plus: The addition of (e.g.,”Rooster plus two cats equals how many animals?”)
  • Equals: To be the same in number or amount (e.g.,”Rooster plus two cats equals how many animals?”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Have difficulty with sequencing
  • Have difficulty keeping a tally of all of the animals found
  • Require step-by-step modeling
Home child care providers may:
  • Provide a visual of what animals were encountered when and how many of each animal
  • Write the number next to the group of animals (e.g., When four turtles are found, write the number 4 next to the group of animals.)
  • Do the activity alongside the children with their animal squares
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be able to write and understand number sentences (3+2=5)
  • Have a working knowledge of addition with numbers 0-10
Home child care providers may:
  • On an additional piece of paper, have the children write down the number sentences that accompany the questions:
    • “If just the turtles and the cats went on a journey, how many animals would be on the journey altogether?”  (4+2=6)
    • “If the fish, rooster and cats went on the journey together and the cats decided to go home, how many animals would be left?”  (5+1+2-2=6 or 8-2=6)
  • Group the animals.
    • “Can you make three equal groups with all of the animals?”
    • How many animals would be in each group if there were three equal groups?”

Suggested Books

  • Rooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle (New York: Scholastic Inc., 1972)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

Counting animals is a wonderful way to keep the children engaged in mathematics while visiting the zoo. Create a tally sheet with pictures of the animals that can be found at the zoo. The children can then walk around the zoo with their tally sheets, clipboards and pencils and record the number of each of the animals that they see at the zoo.

Web Resources

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