Beacon Lesson Plan Library

So Many Cats!

Lore Davis
Alachua County Schools


In this lesson students learn to use manipulatives to model simple addition stories.


The student demonstrates an awareness of addition and subtraction in everyday activities (using concrete objects, models, drawings, role playing).


-[So Many Cats] by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. Clarion Books. New York, 1985.)
-Six bowls with 12 cat counters in each bowl (one bowl per child)
-Six work mats (9 inch by 12 inch laminated construction paper)


Gather materials needed for the lesson and read the book prior to lesson.
-The book [So Many Cats] by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
-Six bowls filled with 12 cat counters (one bowl per child)
-Six work mats (9 inch by 12 inch laminated construction paper)


Note: This lesson only addresses addition.

1. Read the story [So Many Cats] by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers to small group of 4-6 students.

2. Tell students that in the story more and more cats were added to the home. Advise students that they will receive a bowl of 12 cats and a work mat (9 inch by 12 inch) to act out the story. Tell them that they will pretend the work mat is the cat's house. Give each student a bowl of 12 cats and a work mat.

3. Read the story again. This time have students use their cats and mats to act out addition stories. Read the page that says that one cat lived at the house. Have each student place one cat in the "house." Ask how many cats are in the house (1). Next, read the page that states that one hungry cat comes into the house and have each student add a cat to his/her house. Ask students how many cats are now in the house (2). Say, "That is right. First there was one cat in the house and then a hungry one was added. Now there are two cats in all." Read the next page which states that when the family woke up the next morning, they found that the new cat had three kittens. Have students add three more cats to their houses. Ask students how many cats are now in the house (5). Say, "That is correct. There were two cats in the evening and then three more cats joined them and now there are five in all. Two plus three equals five. Continue in this manner until you finish the story.

4. Review the lesson with the students. Have students explain how they joined two groups of cats throughout the story to find out how many there were in all. Tell students that they have talked about and explained how they've joined groups of cats to find the total or how many altogether. Tell them that they will be learning how to use pictures and then numbers to show and tell how many are in a group of cats or other objects.


Note: This lesson only assesses addition.

The student acts out and models joining situations using cat counters to determine how many altogether.

Tell students an addition story: "Three cats were sitting on a rug. Two more cats joined them. How many cats are there in all now on the rug?" Have the student model the addition story using cat counters, or allow them to role play the story. Observe to see that student counts out concrete objects correctly and groups them accordingly or role plays the story in order to arrive at the answer. (Answer doesn't have to be correct as long as student demonstrates the addition process. Gently correct wrong answers and allow students to recount or restructure, or remodel.)

Suggested questions to ask student:
"How many cats were on the rug at first?"
"How many more cats joined them?"
"How many cats in all ended up on the rug?"

Student answers should be:
"Three cats were on the rug at first."
"Two more cats joined them."
"Now there are five cats on the rug altogether."

Offer corrective feedback and guidance, including modeling until students can act out or use manipulatives to show addition in everyday life.


Technology - Have students use the computer software "Carnival Countdown - Snap Clowns" in Millie's Math House. Edmark Corporation, 1995 - to experience opportunities to join two or more groups of objects.

Special Needs Students - Practice more joining/addition problems with students using cat counters or another type of counter such as dogs, dinosaurs or unifix cubes. Provide the student with a work mat (approximately 9 inch by 12 inch, laminated construction paper) and then tell student story problems for the student to act out/model using the counters. It works best to have the student actually touch each counter as he/she counts.

Extension - Show students how to write numbers to show how many counters in each group as they act out the joining/addition stories. The student can show the two groups with counters and then record the total for each group with a plus sign in between the two groups, and then an equal sign to show how many in all.

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