EL Support Lesson

How Many Did I See?

This introductory lesson on addition will give your students a great start in understanding how to add! It can be used as a stand-alone or support lesson for the Ladybug Addition lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theLadybug AdditionLesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theLadybug AdditionLesson plan.

Students will be able to add small numbers using visual aids.


Students will be able to explain how to add two numbers together using pictures.

(2 minutes)
Counting Objects WorksheetTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: How Many Did I See?Glossary: How Many Did I See?Counting Objects Worksheet
  • Gather the class together.
  • Say, "During recess I saw three butterflies in the garden. Then I saw one more butterfly before coming inside. I wonder how many butterflies I saw in all?"
  • Ask, "What can I do to find out how many butterflies I saw today?"
(5 minutes)
  • Model how to solve the problem by drawing a picture of three butterflies, and then counting them aloud to make sure there are three. Write the number 3 under the group. Then draw one more butterfly in a separate space, count it, and then write the number 1 below.
  • Point to each butterfly in turn and count it aloud. Then say, "I saw 4 butterflies during recess."
  • Using the vocabulary cards, say, "We just solved an AdditionProblem. Addition is when you put things together to find out how many there are in all, or the TotalNumber of something."
(5 minutes)
  • Draw another addition problem on the board (e.g., 2 birds and 2 birds) and ask the class to help you figure out the total number of birds.
  • Ask students to hold up two fingers on each hand.
  • Count chorally while using their fingers to keep track (while you point to each bird).
  • Have the class repeat after you, "2 and 2 equals 4. The total number of birds is 4."
  • Repeat with a second problem, this time inviting students to come to the front of the room and act out the problem while the class counts the two groups to find the total.
(10 minutes)
  • Display the Counting Objects worksheet and go over the instructions.
  • Provide a number line for students to use as needed.
  • Ask students to complete the worksheet.


  • Work with a small group of students in a teacher-led group to work through the problems on the Counting Objects worksheet.
  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).


  • Have students explain how to solve addition problems using counting manipulatives.
  • Introduce a written addition number sentence and provide problems for students to solve.
(5 minutes)
  • Check in with students to assess if they are able to accurately count the two groups and solve the problems.
  • Take anecdotal notes during the session to capture student thinking to later assess student learning (e.g., "Let's use the number line to keep track while we count.").
(3 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together.
  • Use acting to solve a few more addition problems as a whole class.

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