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In this well-developed Pre-K/Special Ed fish pond lesson four and one-half fish are counted


Math, Science  


PreK, K  

Title – Fish In a Pond
By – Ellen McPhillips
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Science
Grade Level – Pre-K – K

Prior Knowledge:

  • This lesson plan was designed for preschool students with special needs.
  • It has been observed that the students are able to rote count to three and are able to use one to one correspondence.

Learning Outcomes:

  • As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:
    • Gain an understanding of the concept of half
    • Demonstrate an understanding of quantities

Learning Standards Addressed:

  • Math, Science and Technology Standard 1-Analysis, Inquiry and Design:
    • Place three fish in the pond
  • Math, Science and Technology Standard 3-Mathematics:
    • Usage of half in daily life – half of sandwich, apple or cookie

Instructional Strategies:

  • Observation
  • Demonstration
  • Cooperative learning
  • Visuals and manipulatives

Time Frame:

  • Approximately 15-25 minutes


  • Masking tape to create a circle on the rug for a pond
  • Cutouts of five multi-colored fish and one fish folded in half (for rug activity)
  • Four whole cutouts and one half cutout fish for each child in the class
  • Blue paper with a circle on it for each student

Modifications/Accommodations for leaning differences:

  • Hand-over-hand for students with fine motor difficulty
  • Child will point to fish, one at a time, when teacher says 1, 2, 3


  1. Begin the lesson by calling the students to the carpet.
  2. While the students are walking towards the carpet, begin to use masking tape to create a circle on the rug.
  3. Start by playing Simon Says with touch your toes 1 time, jump 2 times, stomp feet 3 times and clap your hands 4 times to reinforce counting to 3 and introducing 4.
  4. Tell the students you are creating a pond and ask if they know who lives in a pond? (Looking for fish as a response.)
  5. Fish live in the pond and today we are going to see how many fish live in our pond.


  • Teaching Activity:
    1. Place one fish in the pond and instruct, “Count how many fish are in the pond.”
    2. Place another fish in the pond and say, “Now let’s count how many fish are in the pond.”
    3. Ask the students if there is one fish in the pond. This may be more obvious if the fish are separated with one fish closer to them and one closer to you. This is to reinforce the quantity of two. Count the fish again.
    4. Place a third fish in the pond and ask, “Now let’s count how many fish are in the pond. Is there one fish in the pond? Are there two fish in the pond?”
    5. Tell the students that one of the fish was eaten by a frog and cut in half. Show them a cutout folded in half. Flip the fish open (whole) and closed (half).
    6. Place the half fish closed on the masking tape and say “the half fish is on the bridge because he is scared to go back into the pond because he is only half.”
    7. “How many fish are on the bridge? How many are in the pond?”
    8. “Let’s see how many fish we have all together. Let’s count.”
    9. “Three and a half fish all together.”
  • Learning Activity:
    1. Remove the tape to create a straight line and tell the students it is a bridge.
    2. Repeat the activity with the students by placing three students, one at a time, on either side of the tape bridge.
    3. Place yourself over the bridge, with one foot on either side of the tape and explain that half of you is on each side.
    4. When you have three on each side introduce a fourth student on each side and count each side for the higher-level learners.
  • Closure:
        The class can now play London Bridges with the standing children as the bridge and the remaining students crawling on the tape under the bridge. The class can count the pairs and the students crawling on the tape.


  • The students will return to their tables where their own fish (four cutouts and a half for each student) and a pond (blue paper with a circle) have been set up for them.
  • Each table will contain small groups separated by mathematical ability and a teacher that will challenge them to count to 4 or 5 and reinforce the 1-2-3 concepts as well as the usage of the half concept.


  • The teachers will use observation during rug activity, as well as at the tables with individual activities, to assess if they have gained knowledge on what is half and if they can count to 3 or 4 depending on their level.

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