The Ants Go Marching Lesson Plan
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
About this book
Subject Area: Math
Children will delight in singing and counting along with this amusing version of the popular children's song. Includes lyrics and sheet music at the end of the book.
Children will engage in art, singing, and finger-play activities to develop an understanding of quantities represented by the numerals 1 through 10.
Show the children the book The Ants Go Marching. Encourage them to share their ideas about why the ants are marching and where they are marching.
Singing and Acting Ants!
- Teach the children the melody of the song that accompanies the text of the book. Invite them to create movements to dramatize the different actions in each verse. Have them tap their hands on the floor when they come to the Boom! Boom! Boom! part of the song.
- Have the class form a large circle in the meeting area. Tell them that they will dramatize the song. Select ten children to be the ants. Tape a number onto the front of each child's clothing so they will know which ant they will depict. Ask the "ants" to sit in the middle of the circle. Invite the class to count from one to ten and have each child stand up as their number is called. Now count backwards and ask each child to sit when his or her number is called. Ask the children to describe how the group size changed when they counted to ten and how it changed when they counted backwards.
- Now invite individual children to take turns dramatizing the verses of the song. Have the rest of the class sing the verses while the ten students dramatize the ant's movements. Take turns so all of the children have an opportunity to participate in the dramatization.
- Provide students with additional opportunities to repeat the activity.
Ants to Count On
- Construction paper (variety of colors)
- Craft sticks
- Thin markers
- Resealable plastic bags
In advance: Cut out a variety of circle shapes approximately 1 inch in diameter. The circles will be the sections of the ants' bodies, so you will need 30 circles per child.
- Tell the class that they will each make ten ants to use for singing and counting activities.
- Gather art materials and invite small groups to the art area. Begin by asking each group to notice how many sections an ant's body has. Refer to the book's illustrations or actual photographs of ants.
- Ask the children to take ten craft sticks each. Tell them that they will glue three circles to the craft sticks to make the ant's bodies. After they have made ten ants provide them with thin markers to create faces on the top section of each ant. Then ask them to number each ant one through ten.
- Place the children's ants in individual labeled plastic bags. Invite the children to use their ants to sing and count when using the book The Ants Go Marching. Place their bags of ants and the book in a basket and put it in the math area so they can continue to use the materials on their own.
- Use the ant counters to engage the class in additional math activities. Ask the following questions and encourage the children to find the answer:
- If ten ants march in, then five ants march out, how many ants will be left?
- Three ants join five ants. How many ants are there?
- Seven ants march in. Three more ants join them. How many ants are there?
- Use the ants during small-group time and invite the children to make up their own math sentences and stories.
Other Books to Sing and Read
Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? by Iza Trapani
This version of the popular children's song expands the story, taking the little dog to the desert, mountains, and oceans before he decides that there is no place like home.
Down by the Bay by Raffi; illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Children will love the book version of the favorite Raffi song with fun illustrations to accompany the amusing lyrics.
The Bear Went Over the Mountain and other Bear Songs illustrated by Maggie Swanson
A wonderful sing-along book of popular bear songs featuring colorful and engaging illustrations.
Other Books Illustrated by Jeffrey Scherer
Wake Me in Spring (Hello Reader! Series)
"What Is That? Said the Cat (Hello Reader! Series)
Pet Your Pet
The Big Bug Dug
Teaching plan written by Risa Young