Literature Connections:

The Long and Short of It By Cheryl Nathan and Lisa McCourt

Mathematical Strand:



The Geometry Standard, Benchmark 2: Measurement and Estimation. The student uses appropriate vocabulary to compare the measurment of the animal he/she is drawing

Grade Level:

1st Grade

Lesson created by:

Karen Bargabus

Lesson Description:


  • The Long and Short of It by Cheryl Nathan and Lisa McCourt, Troll Books, Bridgewater Paperbacks, 1998.
  • white construction paper, color pencils, markers, colors,
  • items students can use to make comparisons as they draw their animal

1. Launching the Lesson

  1. Read the book. Talk about favorite pages the children had and why they liked them. Focus on the mathematical vocabulary used to compare sizes.
  2. Tell students they will be drawing animals that may have lived long, long ago in Kansas. They can be imaginary animals, or real animals. However, there will be some rules their animals have to fit. For example, I will ask them to draw a body for their animal that is a little bigger than their foot. Then I will ask them to draw heads, legs, eyes, mouths with teeth, noses, and ears. I will demonstrate how they draw the side view of their animals and show pictures in the book so they understand the term profile/side view. I will write the rules down for drawing, step by step. When they are done drawing, they will describe their animal using mathematical terms, but may also use color words. I will model this piece of writing with the picture I have secretly drawn as I gave them the rules.
  3. Drawing instructions (write these down for children as you have them draw):
  • body a little longer than your foot, and in the shape of an ellipse (oval)
  • a head that is larger than a magnetic vowel letter and any shape you want (refer to shape chart and teach children about drawing profile of the head)
  • Legs shorter than their thumbs
  • A tail longer than their crayon. (It can be curved or straight) and wider than a pencil
  • A mouth shorter than a stapler
  • eyes that are smaller than dimes
  • ears that are shorter than a key
  • a nose that is any size they want (ask them to describe some noses and write down their descriptions )
  • I will show students the animal I drew, and read what wrote about my animal, which I have names. Students will write about their animals on a separate paper.


Students will share their animals by reading what they wrote, and showing their pictures (I will paper clip what they wrote to the back of their pictures, so they will show the pictures as they read)

Elaboration: I will type out writing pieces and put them in a book with each child's animal picture.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University