Lesson 7

Use Objects to Represent Stories

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to use objects to demonstrate the actions of addition and subtraction in stories.

Lesson Narrative

In a previous lesson, students told and acted out stories. Representing a story with objects may be more difficult because students have to understand the connection between the physical objects and the objects in the story. To assist students in making this connection, the first activity begins with the teacher acting out the story with representations of people such as toys or dolls and then transitions into students using counters.

Throughout the lesson, students should identify what the counters represent, based on the context of the story. The purpose of the lesson synthesis is to discuss how to use objects to represent addition and subtraction in a story (MP2).

  • Representation
  • MLR8

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Represent addition and subtraction stories with objects.

Student Facing

  • Let’s use objects to show what is happening in the story.

Required Materials

Materials to Gather

Materials to Copy

  • Playing On the Playground
  • Math Stories Stage 2 Backgrounds

Required Preparation

Activity 1:

  • 7 objects that represent people are needed, such as plastic toys or dolls. There are also images of people that can be cut out of the provided black line master. 
  • The playground work mat is printed in the student workbook and is also included in the black line master. 
  • Each student needs a bag of 10 two-color counters.

Activity 3:

  • Each group of 2 needs 10 two-color counters.
  • Materials from previous centers:
    • Subtraction Towers, Stage 1
    • 5-frames, Stages 1 and 2
    • Build Shapes, Stages 1 and 2
    • Counting Collections, Stage 1

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 15 min
Activity 2 10 min
Activity 3 20 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 0 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

As students used objects to represent stories, what evidence did you see that students are making connections between the objects and the things in the story that the objects are representing?

Print Formatted Materials

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Additional Resources

Google Slides

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PowerPoint Slides

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