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Tortoise and Hare Races

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - Kindergarten
Standard 3 Objective 2

Additional Core Ties

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 1

English Language Arts Kindergarten
Reading: Literature Standard 3


Utah LessonPlans


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 paper
  • 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 green construction paper

Additional Resources

  • The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable, by Janet Stevens; ISBN 0823405109
  • 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.

Instructional Procedures


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.

Instructional Procedures
Session One

  1. Read the book The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable by Janet Stevens.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Glue a small picture of the hare on a paper clip and do the same with the tortoise.
  5. 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.
  6. Place this game in a center.

Session Two--Tortoise Race

  1. Reread the story of The Tortoise and the Hare: An Aesop Fable.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Remind students that everyone who finishes is a winner.


Additional Language Arts Activities

  1. Students can write in his/her journal an ending to the sentence "I am a winner when I _________."
  2. 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.

Family Connections

  • 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.

Assessment Plan

  • 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?

Created: 09/13/2004
Updated: 02/05/2018