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Geo-spiders are made while discussing conflicts in this Anansi related lesson


Math, Social Studies  


PreK, K  


Title – Geo-Spider
By – Line Ferris
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Social Studies
Grade Level – Pre-K, Kindergarten

Objectives/Standards: Children will be able to:

  • Say a simple greeting in a language other than their own (PT & LE: World Languages 1.3)
  • Develop an awareness for visual arts (PT & LE: Creative Arts 4.1, 4.2)
  • Label and describe feelings in words (PT & LE: Social/Emotional 3.1, H/SPKE: Social Relations)
  • Develop awareness of positive interactions with others (PT & LE: Social/Emotional 4.6, H/SPKE: Social Relations)


  • Book: Anansi the Spider, a tale from the Ashanti , by Gerald McDermott, NY 1972.
  • Various size shapes cut from scrap paper or bits of foam can be used
  • Large precut triangle shapes for the children to trace
  • Glue (glue sticks work best with foam bits)
  • Construction paper
  • Small wiggly eyes (if available)
  • Stapler
  • Hole puncher
  • String
  • Scissors


      Greet the children in African (“Jambo” means hello) and relate it to the book. Read the book

Anansi the Spider

      to the children. Help the children notice the various shapes on the spiders. Bring to their attention that the shapes in the center of the body of each of the 6 sons represent the special talent each has. As you read the book, ask questions as to how can each son use their special talent to help their father (problem solving). Also ask questions on how the father is feeling when he gets lost (scared), how can you tell? Also ask what would happen if they were to fight over who will help the father (no one would be able to help). Also briefly talk about the fairness of the father’s decision regarding the mysterious shining object.
    Now transition the children to small group activity (perhaps walking like spiders). Provide them with the material needed and make the book available for reference. Have them trace and cut the large triangle for the body. Using the shapes, children make a spider of their choice. For the legs, show them how to make an accordion pattern with a 1-inch strip of paper they have cut (fold, over, fold, over…). Because of this age group and their limited attention span, it is best to perhaps do this folding activity on a previous day since they will need to fold 8 strips of papers.

Closure: What special talent does your spider have? How can it be used to help someone?

Evaluation: Children can be asked to count how many triangles (or any other shape) they chose to use for their spiders. Teacher should be recording number and shape knowledge and language skills and originality (initiative) as well as small motor difficulties.

Follow-up: The location of Africa can be learned using a globe (or a world map). A whole new lesson plan can be developed using the social lesson learned through this story.

Reflection: There was so much to discuss about the book. Hopefully this story will help the social conflicts some of the children are having in the classroom (competition). The children loved making their geo-spiders and it initiated a lot of verbal interaction. It was difficult for most to come up with a special talent their spider has and how it could help someone, so they referred to the story.

E-Mail Line Ferris !

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