Students will match quantities up to at least 10 with numerals and words (Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Framework).
- Fish Eyes by Lois Ehlert
- Index cards (unlined)
- Hole punchers
- Black Sharpie marker
- Unsharpened pencils
- Paper clips
- Small, strong magnets
- Optional: Small wading pool
Set Up and Prepare
- Use the Sharpie marker to trace the outline of a fish on the index cards.
- Write 1 through 10 on one side of the fish. For example, one fish will have the number 1, another fish will have the number 2, etc.
- Decide how many fishing poles to make, based on how many children you want "fishing" at once, or if you want to send a fishing pole home with your students.
- To make the fishing poles, tie one end of a piece of string to an unsharpened pencil and tie the other end to a magnet.
Step 1: Have students use the markers to color the side of the fish that does not have the number written on it.
Step 2: Students can then use the scissors to cut out their fish.
Step 3: Help students to use a paper punch to create the same amount of holes as designated by the number written on their fish. For example, if their fish has 3 written on it, use the punch to make three holes, being careful not to punch the written number itself.
Step 4: Attach a paper clip to the fish.
Step 5: Place the fish in an empty wading pool, or create an imaginary pool using a rug, construction paper, or fabric.
Step 6: Point out that the number of spots, or holes, corresponds to the number written on the fish.
Step 7: Have students take turns "fishing" with their poles starting with the number 1.
Note: It's sometimes helpful to have a bucket to put fish in as they're caught. That way students won't be distracted as others are fishing. If you laminate your fish, you can put them in the wading pool with some water.
The paper fish can be used for graphing activities, or glued to a large sheet of paper to create a number chart.
More About Lois Ehlert
Lois Ehlert has written a number of childrens books. My kindergarten students enjoy learning about her during an author study.