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The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Two Preschool Lesson Plans

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 2/8/2012

These two lessons to go with the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle are sure to be hits with your students. Focusing on preschool calendar and counting skills, they are a great a addition to a unit about butterflies or a unit of Eric Carle books.

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    Days of the Week Lesson

    Use this The Very Hungry Caterpillar lesson plan to teach or review the days of the week. If you have a daily calendar time, your students will probably have some familiarity with the days of the week. Use these activities to give your students more experience with them.

    Materials

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar big book

    Highlighting tape or Wikki Stix

    Large chart paper with 7 columns

    Handout with 7 columns and the days of week written at the top of each column, 2 per child

    Markers, crayons

    Prior Knowledge

    Students will have been introduced to the days of the week and calendars during morning circle time or calendar time. They also should have already been read The Very Hungry Caterpillar at least one time before this lesson so that they are familiar with the story.

    Teach

    Review the days of the week using your calendar or a days of the week song they might already know.

    Procedure

    Gather the students around you and read the big book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Tell the class that you are going to be looking for the days of the week as your read. You might have them raise their hands when they hear one of the days. As you read use your highlighter tape or Wikki Stix to highlight the words for the days of the week in the book. When you are finished reading, ask the class which days they heard in the book and call on a few students to tell you.

    Show them a blank chart with 7 columns and tell them they are going to help you fill in the days of the week. Working together start with Sunday and write in the days of the week on the chart. Go back in the book and find them and the them to chart sequentially.

    After the chart is filled in, draw in the foods that the caterpillar ate each day in the columns. Once again use the book to help you and let the students come up and draw the foods in on the chart.

    Leave the chart displayed and give each student a copy of the chart with only the days filled in. Read over the days together and then let them draw the pictures of the foods on their own charts. To keep it simple tell them that they can just choose one of the foods from Saturday to draw.

    The following week give the students another blank chart and have them record what they eat for snack each day for a week. You will probably have to help them find Monday and tell them they can leave Sunday and Saturday blank, since they aren't at school.

    Assess

    Look at their charts to see if they put the right foods under the correct days. You could also have them individually tell you the days of the week. I wouldn't expect them to know them all in preschool or in the correct order, but they should know a few at least.

    Extend

    • Turn this activity into a center. Laminate a chart like the one you made with the days at the top. Also laminate pictures of the food eaten each day. Use Velcro and have the students fill in the chart as the center activity. Have a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar available for reference.
    • Read other books about the days of the week. Some good ones are Cookie's Week by Cindy Ward and Today is Monday by Eric Carle.
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    Math Lesson Plan

    Here is a math lesson plan you can do using The Very Hungry Caterpillar. At this age many students can say their numbers to 5 or 10, but have a hard time actually counting objects. This lesson will focus on counting objects. It would be a good lesson early in the year or to re-teach counting objects with a small group of students who are still struggling later on in the year.

    Materials

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar big book

    Chart paper

    Laminated pictures of each food eaten by the caterpillar Monday through Friday( one apple, two pears...)

    About 20 unifix cubes for each pair of students

    Markers, crayons, tape

    Prior Knowledge

    Student should be able to count to five and be familiar with the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

    Teach

    Review counting to five or ten with the students. As you count the foods from the book, demonstrate pointing to each one. Students will be working on one to one matching as they count.

    Procedure

    Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to the class, stopping to point and count the fruits one each page. Write the numbers 1 to 5 down the side of your chart paper. Ask the students to help you fill in the chart with the correct fruits. After chart is complete go back and count each row, pointing to each fruit as you count.

    Give the students unifix cubes. With a partner have them use the cubes to make towers for each fruit- one cube for the apples, two for the pears, etc. When finished, each pair should have 5 towers. Ask them how many pieces of fruit they think the caterpillar ate in all five days. Then talk about how they can figure this out. Show the students how to link the five towers together and then count all of the cubes to find out. Have the pairs work together to do this and then share the answer (15).

    Assess

    Watch as the students count the cubes. Are they able to match the number they are saying with right cube or are they counting ahead? Some may be comfortable counting the small towers, but struggle when you put them all together.

    Extend

    • Extend your chart to 10 imagining what fruits the caterpillar might eat in five more days- 6 cherries, 7 mangoes, etc. Make towers of unifix cubes for 6 through 10 also.
    • Make a matching game with the numbers and fruits from the stories. The students would play memory, matching a card with the number on it with a card with a picture of the same number of fruits.
    • Use the laminated pictures of the fruits from your chart to make simple addition problems with the class.

    These The Very Hungry Caterpillar lesson plans will be favorites with your preschool students.

Butterflies, Butterflies

This is a series is articles about lessons and activities to do during a butterfly unit. It includes science, math, literacy and art activities.
  1. Waiting for Wings: A Butterfly Preschool Lesson
  2. Crafts for the Butterfly Life Cycle
  3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Two Preschool Lesson Plans