Caterpillar Sums

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Students will fluently add within 5.

Big Idea

Students become "sum detectives" in this lesson, pairing addition sentences with the correct sum.


5 minutes

To begin this lesson, I gather students in front of the whiteboard for a YouTube video. The video is titled Basic Addition by Nellie & Ned. I like to use this video because it depicts number sentences and pictures. In addition, I like using this video just for a change of pace, the kids are used to me, so switching it up helps. 

As Nellie & Ned give addition number sentences, students chime right in, making the video interactive too.

This video has an ad that needs to be skipped over. I stop the video at 2 minutes and 50 seconds. After that point, they just ask for comments. 


10 minutes

While students are still gathered in front of the whiteboard, I display today's task. This is an activity that my teaching partner passed along to me. It consists of 2 caterpillars with the sums of 4 & 5. On the bottom are addition number sentences with numerals and dots, which is exactly why I love this activity. Showing addition in various forms strengthens the range of number sentences my students are exposed to.

I explain to my students that for this assignment they must be "sum detectives". The goal is to decide if the sum for each addition sentence is 4 or 5. Once the sum is determined, the numeral is cut out, and glued down on the caterpillar with that sum.

To model this, I call two students up to help me solve an addition problem with a sum of 4, and then with a sum of 5. Once we complete 2 together, students are ready to work independently.

Independent Work

15 minutes

Students head to their tables to complete today's assignment as "sum detectives". I have put cubes in the center of each table. Many of my students prefer to use cubes while building the addition sentences. I have also previously taught students to use crayons from their table buckets as manipulatives or the number chart in our classroom if they get stuck on addition. Teaching my students various math strategies is important, because it respects the nature of a young Kindergartner-exploring! Multiple strategies also demonstrate to my students that there is not one way to arrive at an answer.

Table captains pass out the assignment, glue, and scissors to their tables. I discuss table captains further in my reflection.

Students did awesome on this assignment. Through observation, I can see that as the addition unit progresses, students are developing stronger addition skills. I have included student video of this activity.