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Fun with Fish: A Preschool Math Lesson

written by: Melissa Elizondo • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/20/2012

Preschool students need a strong math foundation. This lesson plan will introduce addition and subtraction with a snack that most preschoolers love, the Goldfish cracker. The Goldfish play an important role in this lesson. Read on to find out more.

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    Use these preschool math lessons to teach basic math skills, including counting, addition, and subtraction. This lesson would be a great addition to a unit on fish or ocean life.

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    Materials

    For these preschool math lessons, you will need a copy of the book Ten Little Fish, by Audrey Wood. You will also need Goldfish crackers. Have enough on hand for every student to have at least ten. Be sure to have a few extras, just in case!

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    Prior Knowledge

    Before beginning these little preschool math lessons, sing the song, Five Little Ducks. Have your class count from one to ten together and then count down from ten to one.

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    Teach

    Pass out ten Goldfish crackers to each student. Tell students not to eat them. You may want to put a bowl in the middle for snacking. Have students count the Goldfish you passed out to them.

    Show students the cover of Ten Little Fish and ask them how many fish are on the cover. Ask students about fish. Ask if any of them have a pet fish and where fish live.

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    Procedure

    Read Ten Little Fish to your students. It counts down from ten to one. Have students place their ten Goldfish in front of them. Then, have your students act out the story as it happens. Have them take away a Goldfish as one swims away.

    After you finish reading the story, have your students gather their ten Goldfish. Ask them to pull out one cracker and then ask to put one more with that. Ask them how many they have total. They should be able to easily answer two. Continue with different addition problems, such as two plus three, four plus four, and so on.

    When you have finished with addition, move on to subtraction. Have your students gather their ten Goldfish again, then have them take four away. Ask them how many are left. Continue with different subtraction problems, such as seven take away three, five take away one, three take away two, and so on.

    After you have finished adding and subtracting, let your students eat the Goldfish.

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    Assess

    Here is a quick and easy way to assess these preschool math lessons. Have some Goldfish or blocks at your table and have your students come individually and do two or three simple addition and subtraction problems. Give every student the same number of problems. Have a printed class list, and write how many problems you gave at the top of the list. Then, mark how many problems the student got correct beside his or her name.

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    Extend

    • Read Ten Little Monkeys and act out the stories using student volunteers.
    • Introduce the addition and subtraction signs and what they mean.
    • Have students make their own fish addition problems.

    Read about additional counting books right here at Bright Hub!

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