Using the The Tortoise and the Hare fable students will learn basic map skills.
One per class:
- The Tortoise and the
Hare: An Aesop Fable
- 11" x 18" construction
- Two paper clips
- Picture of hare and
tortoise (see illustration)
- Two small magnets
- Two pencils
- Cookie sheet
One per student:
- Cardboard tube with 10
feet of yarn attached
- Copy of Tortoise picture (pdf) on
- The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable, by Janet Stevens;
- Rosie's Walk, by Pat Hutchins; ISBN 0-590-71809-6
- As the Crow Flies, by Gail Hartman; ISBN 0-02-179005-1
Background for Teachers
The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable is a short story that
describes a race between two animals. The hare being a very fast animal,
and the tortoise a very slow animal. The story involves a simple path
with a few locations and is a great vehicle to teach students basic map
skills. It also involves a problem and solution and character traits that
young children can understand.
Intended Learning Outcomes
3. Demonstrate responsible emotional and cognitive behaviors.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Ask the class if it is best to be fast or slow? Why? After a brief
discussion tell the students that you are going to read a story where two
animals have a race. Ask the class if they know what a hare is. Explain
that a hare is similar to a rabbit. Discuss traits of a hare. Repeat this
with the tortoise.
- Read the book The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable by
- After the first reading, discuss the path the two animals took,
what they passed, where they stopped to rest, and where the finish
line was. Ask the students how they would draw this path. What
different symbols would they use? Could there be other ways to
illustrate the race?
- Draw a model of the racecourse on a 11" x 18" piece of
construction paper. Discuss different symbols you might use. A
red star might show the starting spot. A green triangle is the tree
where the hare stopped.
- Glue a small picture of the hare on a paper clip and do the same
with the tortoise.
- Tape the map on top of a cookie sheet. Place both the hare and the
tortoise that have been glued to paperclips at the starting point of
the map. Using magnets underneath, have two students try to
move each animal to the finish line.
- Place this game in a center.
Session Two--Tortoise Race
- Reread the story of The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable.
- Ask students if only fast people are the best. Discuss how being
fast relates to school. Review the idea that doing work fast is not
important, but that doing your best makes everyone a winner.
Discuss how tortoise's friends didn't give up on him. Talk about
how we can encourage others in our classroom.
- Pass out the Tortoise picture (pdf), copied on green construction
paper, to each student. Have student cut out the tortoise and punch
a hole out on the tip of the head.
- Pass out a cardboard tube that has ten feet of yarn tied to it.
Students should wind the yarn around the tube and tie the loose
end of yarn to the punched hole in the tortoise.
- To race tortoises have four students line up side by side. Each
student should put both pointer fingers inside each side of the
tube so that as the teacher pulls the tortoise out to the starting line
the tortoise will quickly unwind. When all four tortoises are ready
on the floor at the starting line, the teacher says, "Go." Each
student will then roll the yarn around his/her tube by keeping both
hands on the tube and turning the tube as quickly as s/he can.
- Remind students that everyone who finishes is a winner.
Additional Language Arts Activities
- Students can write in his/her journal an ending to the sentence "I
am a winner when I _________."
- Read Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins. Make an obstacle course in
the room that resembles the walk in the book. Draw a path on
paper to show Rosie's walk.
- Have students retell The Tortoise and the Hare at home.
Encourage students to time parents and siblings as they try the
tortoise race. Record which family member is fastest and slowest
at home. Encourage students to explain to parents why it's more
important to do your personal best rather than be first.
- Have students read journal page to parents.
- Have students ask parents to tell them of a time in the parent's life
when they came in last and what they learned.
- Have students retell the story of The Tortoise and the Hare to a
buddy. This works best if the buddy is from an older grade.
Provide a few key questions the older buddy should ask such as:
Why did the tortoise win? Why did the hare stop? How did
tortoise's friends treat him? How should we treat children in the
class who finish last?