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Chicken Pox Math

Time Frame

2 class periods of 45 minutes each

Life Skills

Social & Civic Responsibility




Students will listen to a story of a boy with chicken pox and participate in a class discussion of chicken pox and what to do when you have a contagious disease. They will incorporate math by graphing who in the class has had the disease. They will draw chicken pox on an outline of a child, then practice mathematical concepts with the spots.


books listed in bibliography, outline of a child for each student, writing tools

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to explain how to care for themselves when they have a contagious disease and what to do to prevent spreading it to others. They will be able to count, add, subtract, identify mathematical concepts of more, less, and equal. They will graph and interpret and use data collected.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Read any of the stories listed in the bibliography.
  2. Discuss chicken pox, the symptoms and care of the disease. Talk about immunizations to prevent contagious diseases and proper hygiene to reduce the risk of contacting them.
  3. Survey and graph students who have had chicken pox in your classroom.
  4. Give each student a paper outline of a child.
  5. Direct students to draw chicken pox on the outline. This may be directed by you or done randomly by the students.
  6. Using the number of chicken pox, practice mathematical concepts of more, less, equal, add, subtract,etc.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

  1. You may want independent readers to read the books themselves, read written directions instructing them to place a specific number of chicken pox on each part of the outlined body and complete computations on their own. (Write the number sentence that tells how many chicken pox are on the two arms.) You could create a "chicken pox math" packet.
  2. Struggling students could to be told exactly how many chicken pox to draw on each part of the body. Number sentences and computation could then be completed together as a whole group while gifted students worked independently.
  3. ESL students could have the books read to them at home before seeing them in class if you can locate titles in their language. There are websites which will translate directions so that a packet could be prepared for them to work on independently.


  1. Invite the school nurse to give a lesson on proper hand washing.
  2. Students could write about when they had chicken pox.
  3. Discuss other contagious childhood diseases.
  4. During the math part of the lesson be creative. Examples of questions could be: Make as many chicken pox on the face as you are old, draw five more on the tummy than there are on the face, put three less on the right foot than there are on the face, the same number on the other foot, etc. Computation can be as simple or complex as you wish. You can have students add three or four numbers together by directing them to add designated body parts. Have fun with it.
  5. Give the class "chicken pox cookies". (chocolate chip)

Assessment Plan

The rubric called "Chicken Pox Math" may be used to assess student learning.


Maccarone, Grace. Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox. 1992
Brown, Marc. Arthur's Chicken Pox. 1994
Anderson, Laurie. Turkey Pox. 1996


Created: 07/08/2002
Updated: 02/05/2018