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Elementary Math Lesson Plan for The Tale of Peter Rabbit

By Donna Cosmato

Using lesson plans based on Beatrix Potter characters, like Peter Rabbit, is a fun way to engage kids while teaching them math skills. As a bonus, they get to nibble on their manipulatives! When kids have this much fun, they never notice how much they learn.

Lesson Plan Overview and Objectives

Try this math lesson, based on a Beatrix Potter character, and see how easily your class learns various math skills. This lesson plan for The Tale of Peter Rabbit is geared to younger elementary students. Use it as a stand-alone lesson or as a classroom activity for other lessons. You can present it in about 30 to 60 minutes.

Objective: Students learn mathematical skills using graham cracker manipulatives, and get to experience using concrete objects to explore probability and data analysis.

Elementary Math lesson Plan 

The children organize the crackers into sets, graph the results, and follow directions. Eating their manipulatives when the lesson is over adds fun to learning.

Prior Knowledge: Listening, classifying, and predicting skills previously taught in other math lesson plans.

Supply List and Prep for Peter Rabbit Activity

Pour the bunnies into separate bowls. Have the kids wash their hands, and check student records for any allergies.

You'll need the following:

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  • One box of Annie’s Homegrown Bunny Graham Honey snack crackers
  • One box of Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies
  • Two large bowls
  • Poster board or cardstock to make a chart for each child
  • Glue (glue sticks are not recommended for this activity)
  • Volunteers to count and record bunny quantities

To prepare the charts for the math lesson:

  1. Make four columns across the top.
  2. Make three rows down the side of the chart.
  3. Label columns with the numbers two, four, six, and eight.
  4. Label rows: Honey Bunnies, Cheddar Bunnies, and Total.

Underneath the chart, the teacher writes each child’s name and these words:

  1. Prediction
  2. Result
  3. Prediction
  4. Result

Teaching the Math Lesson

  1. Working one-on-one, help a child scoop up a handful of the honey bunnies, and predict how many he scooped up.
  2. Write the prediction in the appropriate space.
  3. Let him count his bunnies, and record the amount in the space marked “result.”
  4. Repeat with the cheddar bunnies.
  5. This goes much faster if you recruit several volunteers to help the kids count and record their results.
  6. Explain the difference between estimating numbers and counting for accuracy.
  7. To continue the lesson, tell the class to classify the bunnies into two groups – honey bunnies, and cheddar bunnies. Help them as necessary.
  8. Working with the honey bunnies, classify them into sets of two, four, six, and eight, and have the kids glue them to the appropriate row and column of their graph.
  9. Repeat with the cheddar bunnies.
  10. Finish the lesson by counting the columns of bunnies and writing the number in the totals row. The kids get to take their graphs home as a visual reinforcement.

Beatrix Potter Unit Lesson Extension

Have the kids wash their hands, and then sit on the floor. Pass a bowl of the bunny crackers and let them take a handful. Tell them they can nibble a bunny each time they hear you say “Peter Rabbit.” Read The Tale of Peter Rabbit, encouraging them to eat their bunnies when they hear Peter's name. Using a lesson plan based on Beatrix Potter characters, or other familiar children's book characters, makes learning fun for little kids. Try it with your class and see how well it works.

Recommended Reading List

Try some of these other books by authors who teach math in most uncommon ways. Kids love these stories, and as plus, they learn some valuable math concepts.

Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, Cindy Neuschwander, [Charlesbridge, 1997]

Pastry School in Paris: An Adventure in Capacity, Cindy Neuschwander, [Henry Holt & Co.,]

Multiplying Menance: The Revenge of Rumplestiltskin (A Math Adventure), Pam Calvert, [Charlesbridge, 2006

Grapes of Math, Greg Tang, [Scholastic Paperbacks, 2004]

Math Curse, Jon Scieszka, [Viking Juvenile, 1995}

Image Credits

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain