The Very Hungry Caterpillar Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use the beloved book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' to teach students about story elements and how to count. Two separate lessons provide students a chance to apply skills to this touchstone book.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify story elements in the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • count forwards by ones
  • skip count by two, five, and ten


1 - 2 hours, broken into two sessions


  • Book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Paper
  • Cut-outs of items in the text The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one set for each student
  • Glue
  • The lessons Story Elements Lesson for Kids and How to Count: Lesson for Kids, displayed on a shared document reader
  • Chart paper
  • Template of a butterfly, one for each student

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.1

With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.2

With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.K.3

With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1

Count to 100 by ones and by tens.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.5

Count to answer ''How many?'' questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects.

Instructions - Counting

  • Gather students on the carpet and have each student stand up. Say each student's name, counting as you do so. Have students count with you. After determining a total, start again, this time having students sit down after being counted.
  • Tell students they will be working on counting in different ways. Display the lesson How to Count: Lesson for Kids and read the first section 'Counting in Real Life' to and with students. Allow students to interact with the lesson, answering questions and adding comments where appropriate. Ask:
    • When do we count at school?
    • How do you use counting at home?
    • Do your parents ever count?
  • After discussing how counting is used, read the next section 'How to Count.' Have students stand up again, and count them backwards.
  • Read the next section 'Strategies for Learning to Count,' then ask:
    • What strategies do we use in the classroom to count?
    • Which strategy works best for you?
    • Why do we have counting strategies?
  • Read the section 'Skip Counting.' Arrange students in groups of two, then count. Repeat for five and ten.
  • Read the Lesson Summary.
  • Now give students a short wiggle break, then read the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar to them.
  • Allow them to interact with the text, counting with you as the caterpillar eats his way through the text.


  • Send students back to their seats and tell them they're going to practice counting objects.
  • Distribute sets of food from the book and instruct students to set on the table or desk tops in groups. For example, students should put pears with pears, sausage with sausage, etc.
  • Now hold up the book and read the page with each food, having students count the items along with you. Practice counting by two, five, and ten if appropriate for your group.
  • After counting together, have students glue the food on a piece of paper in a graph-like manner. Have them count the food on their own, then write the number below.

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