Don't Let Pigeon Drive The Bus: Concepts of 10 and Some More

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SWBAT solve story problems where they create numbers using a group of 10 and some extra.

Big Idea

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus! Students build an understanding of numbers 11-19 as ten and some more using concrete models, all while connecting back to a well-loved story.

Objective and Hook

5 minutes

At this point of the lesson, I want students to understand WHAT we are learning, WHY we are learning and HOW it connects to what we have been learning. I also want them to be excited about the learning we will do.


In math, the number 10 is our best friend! We worked so much on thinking about how we could make groups of ten. Today we are going to look at the numbers 11-19 and think about how to make these numbers.


We use ten in all of math! All of our number use ten.


Today’s thinking job is: How can we build a number using ten and some more?


Read Aloud: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems or watch the attached video of this book!

I transition students into math mode by saying, “We just read this really funny story about a bus! Pigeon can’t drive the bus but he can help us load people onto the bus. We are going to load people on the bus with Pigeon but our bus only holds 10 people! We have to figure out how many people are on our buses.”

Opening Discussion

15 minutes

During this time, I am working for kids to start to understand the idea of a "full ten" by having them fill up the tens to solve problems. 

Present Ten Frame Bus Tool: "Here is a picture of the bus Pigeon is helping us with."

  • How many seats are on this bus? How do you know?
    • 10, I know because: There are 5 at the top and 5 at the bottom.
    • 10 because I counted all of the boxes by 1s.
  • "Let’s count to see how many there will be on the first bus...How many kids fit on the first bus?"

When the bus is full, Pigeon has to put people on the other bus. Our problems today are going to be figuring out how many people are on the buses.

Present Problem: Pigeon loaded 10 people. Then he loaded 2 more people. How many people did Pigeon load on the bus?

Partner Talk: What happened in this story? (Quick Retell)

Partner Talk: It is a put together or a take away problem?

"You are going to have two buses on your sheet to load people onto. You can use the buses and cubes to help you find your answer."

Student Work Time:

Students solve the problem independently. (See Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Opening Discussion Question.docx)

During Student Work Time, I am looking for the following approaches to the problem:

  • Most students will use the ten frame structure to help them with the problem because I gave them this tool to work with.
  • If they don’t use the ten frame structure, they also might count on or build with cubes. If students just build it with cubes, I encourage them to then transfer the cubes on the ten frame.

Strategy Share

10 minutes

For the strategy share, I will bring students back together on the carpet. I want to share out the thinking that happened when solving the problem using the double ten frame as a tool.

"Let’s look at the story problem again. We are going to look at how many of you showed this on the buses (I shows a Bus Mat)."

Guiding Questions during Discussion: 

  • How many people did Pigeon put in the first bus? Are there any extra seats? Pigeon filled it up!
  • How many people did Pigeon put next? Why couldn't you put those 2 people on the first bus?
    • Push students to articulate that the first ten frame is full and then restate as “It is already a full ten”
  • Now we have 10 up here and 2 down here. How many people were on the bus?
    • Extension: How could we count on to solve? (Many kids will be able to use the ten to say “10, 11, 12”)

To sum up this question sequence, I will restate what we did using mathematical language. This will preview what language they will be using later in the unit.

"We have 12 people on the bus, that was 1 full ten and 2 extra people. "

With remaining time, I will do a few more numbers with this sequence. Students can use ten frame mat with me on the rug, at their desks or you might choose to use a bus mat whole group.


Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students solve more story problems about Pigeon. I will actively differentiate this time based on student understanding whole group and during the problem solving they did earlier in the lesson. See attached Pigeon Independent Practice All Groups.docx and Bus Mat.docx!


Group 1: In Need of a Scaffold

Students are able to build the numbers and write them correctly. Students may not yet understand the concept of 10 and some more, but this day for them is to see the structure of the number on the ten frame.

I make sure these students record the number on the ten frames.

Questions to push:

  • How do we write that number?
  • How many people fit on this bus?
  • How many people had to go on the second bus? Why did they have to go on the other bus?

Group 2: The Middle

Students articulate “full ten” language when they create the number. They build the number, write it correctly and understand that it is a full ten and some others.

Questions to push:

  • How many people had to go on the second bus? Why did they have to go on the other bus?
  • How many full tens? How many extra people on the 2nd bus?

Group 3: Extension Group

Students understand ten and some more and extend it to understand that if they completed the other ten frame, they would have 20 people. Students do the extension to lay foundations for future understandings of missing number and concepts of 10

 Questions to push:

  • How many people had to go on the second bus? Why did they have to go on the other bus?
  • How many tens? How many extra?
  • How many more would we need to have 20 people?
  • How did you know you needed X more to get to 20? How does the ten frame show you that? Could you use a counting strategy?




5 minutes

Here I wrap up the learning by reviewing the objective and allowing students to summarize what they learned today.

Partner Talk: How did you solve your first story problem? Show your work to your partner. 

We will get some wiggles out by breaking it down to this great youtube song by Harry Kindergarten called Numbers in the Teens.

If time allows, I will also show a fun youtube video of the story Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.