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Preschool Thanksgiving Math Lesson: Let the Class Vote

By Laurie Patsalides

Teach young children the concept of voting. Students will vote upon whether they would like apple or pumpkin pie as a Thanksgiving treat for the class from the teacher. The pie with the most votes will be the pie that the teacher purchases.

What You'll Need

Voting Lesson Plan The children have probably heard a lot about voting at this time of the year, so let them vote on something.To get started you'll need a few materials:

  • Teacher-created T-Chart
  • Marker
  • Small pieces of paper to cast a vote
  • A voting bin

Explaining Voting

Voting is an important process that Americans undergo to choose the leaders of our country, state, and local government. Every four years we vote for a new president. In a presidential election, Americans choose or vote for a president. Whoever receives the most choices (or votes) becomes the president.

Tell the students, "Today we are going to learn how to take a vote. I will ask you to please vote for the type of pie that you would like as a Thanksgiving classroom treat, either apple or pumpkin pie. When we are finished voting, the pie with the majority rule, that is the greatest number of votes, will be the pie that I will purchase for our class as a Thanksgiving treat."

Instructions for Students

Give directives: A vote is private and anonymous (define and chart the definition of vote and anonymous).

Tell the students, "I will give you a slip of paper to write (or cast) your vote upon. You must either choose apple or pumpkin pie; you cannot choose both. If you write both down on the paper, then your vote will be disqualified. When you are finished writing apple pie or pumpkin pie onto the slip of paper, I will call you to quietly cast your vote here in the voting bin. Please keep your vote private."

After all the votes have been entered, count the votes. On the T-Chart that you have created, have the students help you to write the titles, Apple Pie on one side and Pumpkin Pie on the other side (a mini-interactive writing lesson).

As you "read" the votes, make tally marks. Students should have prior knowledge about how to use tally marks from previous lessons but will likely need reinforcement. Show the students that each tally mark equals one vertical line, or in this case, vote. Show how when five votes are reached, a diagonal line crosses over four vertical votes to equal five. Model how to write the number five over every group of tally marks. Count by fives, and add on ones. Last, record the number of total votes for apple pie and pumpkin pie in their respective columns and compare.

When comparing votes, compare which pie received the most votes. By how many more did it receive the most votes? Subtract and record.

Now it is time to follow the majority rule and purchase a pie. In another lesson, the students can learn how many pies will need to be purchased to feed the whole class and how to make an interactive writing shopping list for the teacher.

Just a fun note: The students in my class loved this lesson so much that they tried to convince me to do it again and again. I wonder if the motivation had anything to do with pie!