As you prepare to teach this unit, you may wish to consider what
management strategy you will use to distribute the fish-shaped
crackers. Packaging the fish-shaped crackers in resealable plastic
bags, one for each student, will keep the material sanitary.
To open this lesson, provide each student with crackers, two paper plates, crayons, and graph paper. Then read a counting book about fish (one option is Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert) or some other counting book.
As the students listen to the story, have them model each number
named by adding one fish-shaped cracker to a plate, writing that
numeral at the beginning of a row on the graph paper, and then placing
one fish cracker per square to show the number. [Encourage students to
have rows of 10.] Then ask them to remove the fish, one row at a time;
coloring the squares in that row that had held fish crackers. Have
students color each row a different color using yellow, purple, and
other colors of their choosing. If you choose not to read a counting
book, you might sing a favorite counting-up song, such as "This Old
Man," and have the students model and record the number featured in
To the tune of an easily-remembered song, such as "A Hundred
Bottles of Beer on the Wall," sing a more appropriate counting back
song, "Ten Little Fish on the Plate." Have the students place crackers
on the appropriate bar on the graph they created in the activity above
as they sing each verse of “Ten Little Fish.” [This activity allows you
to determine whether any students have trouble matching numerals to
sets, counting, or writing numerals.] Now ask: How many more squares
are colored in the yellow bar than in the purple bar? How do you know?
[Possible answer: 1; I counted one more. This question introduces the
new mode of subtraction, the comparative mode.]
Next hold up a number, such as eight, and ask the students to put
that many fish-shaped crackers on a plate and record the number of
crackers. Then ask them to make a second plate with one less cracker.
Now tell them they will compare the number of crackers on each
plate. To do this, have them remove pairs of crackers from the plates
by taking one cracker in each hand from each of the plates and placing
the crackers in the bag until crackers are left on only one plate. Then
have them count the crackers left on the plate. Ask for a volunteer to
model and record the comparison using the number sentence [equation or
horizontal] format. [For example, 8 – 7 = 1.] Now ask for a volunteer
to record the comparison using the vertical format. Encourage the
students to describe the comparison in two ways, in one instance using
the word "more" and in the other instance using the word "less." [For
example, there is one more cracker on the plate that had eight
crackers. There is one less cracker on the plate with seven crackers.]
For the next part of the lesson, students will need access to the Adjustable Spinner.
Ask a student to name a number from 5 to 10. Divide the spinner
into that many parts. Now call on a volunteer to spin the spinner and
tell which number came up. Ask the students to show the number with
fish-shaped crackers. Then tell them to show a group of crackers that
is one more than that number, and then a group that is one less. You
may wish to have them record their responses on the One Less/One More Activity Sheet.
One Less/One More Activity Sheet
Repeat with other volunteers.
To end the lesson, have the students divide some crackers between
two plates, then remove a cracker from each plate until all the
crackers on one plate are gone. [If you wish, you may encourage them to
eat each pair of crackers as they remove it. If you prefer to use the
crackers another day, be sure each bag is labeled with the student's
name and closed securely.]