Beacon Lesson Plan Library

How Did We Get to School Today?

Diane Reinstatler


As the class discusses different ways children get to school they draw pictures on a cards showing how they came to school today. They then sort themselves into groups by transportaion such as bus, daycare van, car, walk, bike.


The student describes a wide variety of classification schemes and patterns related to physical characteristics and sensory attributes, such as rhythm, sound, shapes, colors, numbers, similar objects, similar events.


-Premade tags (4-x6- index cards with yarn attached)
-4 each of small toy buses, cars, vans, and people
-Tagboard or sentence strips
-4 baskets or shoe boxes


Tags: Make tags before the lesson by punching 2 holes in the top of the 4x6 index cards and threading a length of yarn or string long enough to go over the students' heads through the holes. Each student's name is written on a card.

Labels: Cut tagboard or sentence strip into 12" lengths to use for labeling sets.

Toys: Collect 4 each of toy cars, vans, buses, and people for children to use in assessment.

Classroom: Make sure there is ample room for groups to assemble so there is no need to take time out to move furniture during the activity.

Assessment tool: Construct a checksheet with students' names down the left side and 3 columns at the top with these headings: Not Yet, Emerging, Established.


1. Sitting on the carpet, discuss various ways children get to school.

2. Call on each student to tell how he/she got to school TODAY.

3. Hand each student a card with his/her name on it and send that child to the appropriate table to draw a picture of the mode of transportation by which they arrived at school. Caution students to draw only one mode of transportation on their cards.

4. As students finish, they raise their hands and the teacher labels their drawing at the top of the card. (eg. bus, car, van, bike)

5. When all students are finished they put their cards around their necks and the teacher asks the students in each group to stand (eg, all who came to school in a bus) and then sit down.

6. Designate an area on the carpet for each mode of transportation and instruct students to sit with their group.

7. To further distinguish between groups, ask each group how everyone in that group got to school today and then write an identifying label, such as BUS.

8. The students put their tags and the label in a separate basket or box.

9. All return to sitting together on the carpet and discuss the contents of the baskets and how they are sorted.


Assess students individually to see if they are able to sort and classify materials into sets. Provide 4 toy cars, 4 buses, 4 vans, and 4 people mixed together on a table. The student will be asked to sort the materials into groups (or sets) and to describe or explain the classification.

Record on a master sheet if a student is successful or not.

Criteria for mastery: Student is able to correctly sort toys into 4 sets without any prompting. Student is able to explain why the groups were chosen. A check is placed on the checklist under established.

Mastery is emerging when child is successful in sorting 2 of the 4 sets and can offer some type of explanation for their sorting. Record a check in the Emerging column on the checklist.

Mastery is not yet evident when the child is unable to sort any sets correctly. Student is unable to offer any explanation for possible sortings. A check is recorded under Not Yet on the checklist.


This math learning activity is used in my classroom in late September to mid October as part of a social studies theme titled Me and My World. I use it only after my students have had experience in sorting and classifying. It could also be used later in the year in a transportation theme.

An extension activity would be to make a graph using the labels and the tags the children created. Discussion would revolve around how many rode the bus, how many rode their bikes, etc to school.

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