Mr. Alligator Can't Catch Me!

August 28, 2015
by AnneMarie Mann

Students can use their play skills to demonstrate subtraction. In this lesson, your students will use a familiar rhyme to practice subtraction.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to represent subtraction by manipulating up to 5 objects.

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Introduction (5 minutes)

  • Tell your students that today they will be practicing subtraction, or taking away.
  • Show students 5 Little Monkeys.
  • Encourage students to sing along and use their fingers to practice along with the video.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (5 minutes)

  • Gather students in your group area and demonstrate the concept of taking away with counting manipulatives, such as 5 brown blocks and a bigger green block.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Assign one student to be the alligator and five students to be the monkeys.
  • Write the corresponding subtraction problem on the board to demonstrate how to represent taking away.

Independent Working Time (5 minutes)

  • Have students work on the 5 Little Monkeys worksheet independently.



  • Enrichment: Challenge your students to use numbers higher than 5 to practice subtraction.
  • Support: Give your students manipulatives to practice subtraction. Have them count out the manipulatives one by one, using them as they complete the worksheet.

Related Books and/or Media


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Tell your students that they will have to "clean the room". Have them complete the Clean the Room worksheet.

Review and Closing (10 minutes)

  • Watch the video again while practicing subtraction with small snacks such as fish crackers or fruit snacks.
  • Discuss as a class how eating the snacks is similar to practicing subtraction.

Teacher Tips


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