Common Core Math Standards One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab

Among my books, the most widely used one worldwide is ONE IS A SNAIL, TEN IS A CRAB. It’s been adapted for curricula from Australia to Canada. This book is classified as nonfiction although the text is nonfiction and the illustrations are actually fictional. (At least in my experience, crabs do not ride inner tubes.) It introduces a way of thinking that leads, apparently into algebra. It counts from 1-100. So, when I looked at the Common Core, I could see why this book has been embraced by the math community. Here are the standards that I could see immediately related to the book. A trained math teacher would likely find many more.

Yet there are ways math teachers can use lots of children’s books to complete Common Core.


  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings1, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.3 Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).

CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.




CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.A.1 Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1

Lesson Plan for One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab

Other activities related to One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab

One Is a Snail Worksheets



Lesson Plan for One Is a Snail, Ten Is a Crab

I’m speaking at the Indiana state conference of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics on Sunday and Monday. Here’s a lesson plan created by educator Margaret Goldsmith, who is co-presenting with me. She’ll cover the lesson plan at the end of my session talk.

Click here to download the lesson plan: One Is A Snail.

Thank you to Margaret for sharing. We met because she was teaching workshops on the book. She’s so creative as an educator. I’m her fan and it’s because of her math enthusiasm that I attended my first NCTM conference earlier this year. Love the vibe of the math education world. Just zaps my brain cells and makes me think, smile, and create.

Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant Extensions

Here are some concepts to explore during small group and one-on-one readings of Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant:

Colors and shapes. Engage young readers in discussing what they observe about vegetable colors and frame colors. Study other qualities such as bright, dark, and shiny.

Patterns. Quantities. Are the vegetables dumped straight onto a table? Are they organized in any way? How? Why do you think they are in boxes, piles, and small groups? Who do you think organizes them and why?

Different and the same. Which vegetables are the same? Which are different? Which show up in several parts of the book? Be a vegetable detective!

Vegetable identities. Are there any vegetables your students cannot identify? Research to find other photos of them and compare to the chant photos. (See other books and websites such as the author’s for additional photos.) Even better, bring in the real veggies for hands on study, cross section, drawing, and tasting. Encourage students to use all their senses!

Vegetable math. Encourage readers to count the vegetables. Advanced students might calculate or discuss how much it might cost to buy three baskets, four boxes, and other amounts of vegetables in photos that have prices.

Vegetable art. One of the best ways to know something is to draw it. Why not bring in some live vegetables for children to draw so they can study vegetable colors and shapes?

For garden, harvest, and vegetable book pairings and activities, see the

“In My Garden” handout prepared by children’s librarian Heather Acerro of Allen County, IN.

Giant Snails Ahead!

We just found out that Candlewick is releasing ONE IS A SNAIL, TEN IS A CRAB as a BIG book in March 2010! This will be perfect for classroom and library use. It’s 17″ x 15″. Have fun with math and 100th day celebrations. The big book is in their regular catalog and on their site.

Fractals and Vegetables

As some of you may know, I have a little thing for vegetables. I lurve them. I munch them. I share the joy of veggies with kids. I shouted with joy when I saw this Romanescu. I’ve heard it called broccoli but it really tastes more like cauliflower. Anyway, the growth pattern is beautiful and illustrates fractals. First you can stare at it. Then you can eat it. Fractal Vegetable

Bumblebee Queen Math

For a teacher’s workshop recently, I was asked to share some ideas about using THE BUMBLEBEE QUEEN (Charlesbridge) in the context of math. Below are some of my informal ideas. I’m sure they will spark lots more activities in educators out there. Let me know what you do!



(A mathematical look at The Bumblebee Queen by April Pulley Sayre) 



(Building number literacy and sensitivity) 

After a first read of the book, as a story, look through it again, as a math detective.

Math can help you notice things and connect facts that you see. 

So let’s be math detectives


What to we notice about numbers in the book?


For younger students:

Let’s look through and write down what we see.

(Write down an honor various responses from kids counting.)


(On the cover, we see:

examples that may be suggested by students:)


three flowers on the left (columbine)

six legs on a bumblebee

two wings on a  bumblebee

Three petals on each flower. Three trillium. They are named “tri” for three.


(On the first full spread we see)

Six-sided snowflakes

Four-toed bird feet. 

One chamber where she lives

You could count the number of pieces of grass

You could count the number of trees.


Do you notice there are lots of things to count on each page?

There are many  numbers to notice on each page. 

Let’s try to narrow down what we count. 

Let’s stay as close as possible to the bee and her life.

What numbers that we hear or see are important to her life? 

Let’s read. 


For older students

1) Read the book and write down any numbers mentioned in the text.  If you find them in a sentence, write down the entire sentence.

One way to look for numbers would be to scan the pages quickly for number shapes.

Try that. Does this technique find all the numbers? Why or why not? 

(No. Some numbers may be spelled out in letters. So you will need to read, not just scan. 

Some numbers may not be spelled out. You may need to look for clues to those numbers in the illustrations.)

Answers: examples numbers students may have noted

250 bumblebee species

In 5 days, the eggs hatch. 

The larvae spin cocoons 10-14 days after hatching

In ten days, the cocoons ripen. (Bees emerge.>) 

A bumblebee colony can contain 30-400 bees

Three kinds of bees: queens, workers, drones




How many places did the bumblebee look before she found a place to build her colony?

By number, which place did she choose?

The 3rd place she looked. 

Pause to investigate ordinal/cardinal numbers

Cardinal number—a number denoting quantity  one, two, three, four five.

Ordinal number—a number denoting order 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.


Take the figures you have gathered about the bumblebee’s life. Create a timeline, of the days of a bumblebee’s development. 

One Is a Snail activities

Students hold a stuffed animal and count their feet plus the animal's feet to illustrate the concept
Students hold a stuffed animal and count their feet plus the animal

IN Math Standards Fulfilled by One Is a Snail

Indiana Mathematics Standards

(Why every Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade teacher in Indiana needs her/his own copy ONE IS A SNAIL, TEN IS A CRAB.)    

ONE IS A SNAIL, TEN IS A CRAB provides a fun and creative way to fulfill the standards below. For ideas on how to extend the book to fulfill standards, particularly problem solving, see the projects used by others in the educator’s section. Worksheets of related math problems are also available in the educator’s section.


Standard 1: Number Sense
Students understand the relationship between numbers and quantities up to 10, and that a set of objects has the same number in all situations regardless of the position or arrangement of the objects.
K.1.1 Match sets of objects one-to-one.
K.1.2 Compare sets of up to ten objects and identify whether one set is equal to, more than, or less than another.
K.1.3 Know that larger numbers describe sets with more objects in them than sets described by smaller numbers. Continue reading “IN Math Standards Fulfilled by One Is a Snail”