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My Pet

  • Lesson
Carol Midgett
Location: unknown

In this lesson, students develop and use spatial relationships and spatial memory by creating a map of a pet. The students use visual and spatial skills, measure with nonstandard units, and describe "trips" around their pet using directional and positional words.

Provide magazines, catalogs, or other sources with pictures of animals that might be pets. Have the students locate a picture of a pet that is somewhat like their own or one they would like to have. If the students are to cut out pictures, provide scissors. If they are unable to cut pictures from the resources, paper strips or sticky notes might be used to mark pages. [Some students may not be permitted to have pets because of parental preference, restrictions in their places of residence, financial limitations, cultural beliefs, or allergies. A discussion of these issues might help the students develop sensitivity to, and respect for, diversity.]

2748 dog

After the students locate pictures of pets, gather them as a whole group. Invite them to show their picture and discuss the unique characteristics of their pet. Focus the students' attention on the elements of the pets that will be part of the map that they create later in this lesson. [Remind the students that pets may have legs, fur, fins, gills, eyes, ears, feathers, scales, or tails.]

On chart paper, draw a picture of the pet you have or would like to have. Label the parts of the pet, which might include ears, tail, collar, and paws. Generate a list of additional words the students might use when labeling their pet. Some labels are found in the resource sheet, Pet Labels.

pdficon Pet Labels 

Provide paper, crayons, scissors, and glue for the students to draw and label the parts of their pet. Encourage students to use nonstandard measuring tools (e.g., paper clips, crayon pieces, strips of paper) to determine the placement of the body parts of their pet. Students may also create a legend using pictures. This legend might include a wagging tail to indicate that their dog is happy, a collar to indicate the name and address of their dog, a drooping tail to indicate the dog has been scolded, or a fat tummy to indicate that the dog is going to have puppies.

After the students have completed their "Pet Map," group them in pairs. Have each student take his or her partner on a tour of his or her pet using directional and positional words. Observe the students as they engage in this activity, making notes about students' understanding of the learning objectives for this lesson. A Class Notes Recording Sheet is provided for documenting your observations of students' performance.

pdficon Class Notes 

The Pet Maps could illustrate a story that the students write (if appropriate) or dictate for someone else to write. The Pet Maps could be posted on a bulletin board with a brief explanation dictated by the students and generated by the teacher. The Pet Maps may also be used to create a book for the class library.

  • Magazines or catalogs or other sources of pictures of pets
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Drawing paper
  • Sticky notes or paper strips
  • Crayons or markers
  • Pet Labels Resource Sheet  

Assessment Options

  1. After completing this lesson, students should be able to do the following:
    • Apply spatial skills, visualization, and memory
    • Use nonstandard units to place parts of the pet
    • Use directional and positional words to navigate their pet map
  2. Documenting the level of understanding of each student will help you provide feedback to students, report strengths and needs to parents, and create appropriate plans for the next lessons. The Class Notes recording sheet provided can help you document the learning objectives of this lesson.

Questions for Students 

  1. When you were drawing your pet, what did you have to think about?
  2. How did you decide where to place the legs, fins, wings, eyes, ears, and mouth, on your pet?
  3. What words did you use to describe the trip around your pet?
  4. Are there things that you need to know that would help you describe a trip around your pet?
  5. When you created your legend, why did you choose the "wagging tail" [or other example appropriate to the student] to include? Were there other things you could have chosen?

Teacher Reflection 

  • Which students were able to draw and label a map of their pet? What caused the greatest challenges?
  • What components did the students most frequently include? What components were most frequently excluded?
  • Did the students need additional knowledge and skills to be successful with this lesson? What expectations were appropriate for my students at this time? Which were not?
  • What activities do I need to plan next for remediation? What activities would enrich students' understanding? 

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Apply spatial skills—visualization and memory.
  • Use directional and positional words to describe how to navigate their pet map.
  • Use nonstandard units to place parts on their pet.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Describe, name, and interpret relative positions in space and apply ideas about relative position.
  • Describe, name, and interpret direction and distance in navigating space and apply ideas about direction and distance.
  • Create mental images of geometric shapes using spatial memory and spatial visualization.
  • Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time.
  • Understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units.

Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

-Kindergarten, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.A.1
    Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.

-Kindergarten, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.A.1
    Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

-Kindergarten, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.B.6
    Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. For example, ''Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle?''

Grade 1, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.A.2
    Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.

Grade 1, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.G.A.2
    Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.