EL Support Lesson

How Hungry Is the Caterpillar?

Use this classic read-aloud to practise the numbers 1-10 with your students! It can be used as a stand alone lesson or support lesson for the Dalmation Dots lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theDalmatian DotsLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theDalmatian DotsLesson plan.

Students will be able to recognise numerals from 1–10 and match quantities to numerals.


Students will be able to verbally count to 10 and explain how to match objects to numbers using visual supports.

(2 minutes)
Counting CupcakesTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: How Hungry is the Caterpillar?Glossary: How Hungry is the Caterpillar?
  • Gather the class together for a read aloud.
  • Display the book The Very Hungry CaterpillarAnd say, "Today we are going to read a book about a caterpillar. Has anyone ever seen a caterpillar before?"
(8 minutes)
  • Read aloud the The Very Hungry Caterpillar, pausing on each page to count the number of items the caterpillar eats each day.
  • Display the numbers 1–10 on the board and point to each number as you count the foods on each page.
(5 minutes)
  • Use the story as a guide to ask the following questions for students to think-pair-share:
    • How many apples are on this page?
    • How many more oranges are on this page than the last page?
    • How do you know?
  • Ask the class to count aloud with you as you point to each number.
  • Invite students to hold up their fingers as you count to show the same number (e.g., 2 fingers for 2, etc.).
  • Pass out 5 maths manipulatives to each student.
  • As a group, practise counting the maths manipulatives one at a time in order to practise one-to-one correspondence and matching a written number to a given quantity.
  • Count aloud and then say, "There are four bears. This is the number four. Can you draw a four in the air with your fingers?"
  • Repeat with remaining numbers 1–5 (and 6–10 if time allows).
(10 minutes)
  • Display the worksheet and explain that now students will get to practise counting the cupcakes and matching the number of cupcakes to the number on the right side.
  • Pass out worksheets and as a group, complete the worksheet one line at a time (counting the number of items and identifying the matching number).


  • Gather together a small group of students to practise matching numbers to the corresponding quantity of items (e.g., the number 2 to two bears).
  • Provide number lines or number cards for students to use as additional support when matching numbers.


  • Encourage students to practise counting larger groups of items using their one-to-one correspondence skills.
(3 minutes)
  • Check that students are able to match the correct number of objects to the target number (e.g., 1 button for the number 1).
  • Ask guiding questions to support understanding and further assess students such as: How many cupcakes are there? How do you know it makes the number ____?
(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and practise counting a new group of items or use the students (e.g., how many students are wearing red? How many have shoes with laces?) to provide additional one-to-one counting practise.

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