Yertle the Turtle Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan may be used to help your students compare and contrast characters and acquire new vocabulary while reading 'Yertle the Turtle' by Dr. Seuss.

Learning Objective

Upon completion of this lesson on Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss, students will be able to:

  • Compare Yertle the Turtle to Mack the plain turtle.
  • Understand and use vocabulary from the story.

Time Length

90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning word and phrases based on grade 3 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Lesson Instructions and Activities


Students will be able to read and understand the following key vocabulary terms:

  • Bellowed
  • Brayed
  • Command
  • Complain
  • Faint
  • Mile
  • Obeyed
  • Order
  • Pardon
  • Ruler
  • Sigh
  • Throne
  • Thundered
  • Trembled


  • Copies of Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss
  • Muffin Tins
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Ping Pong ball
  • Dictionary
  • Counters (four colors)
  • Painter's tape
  • Paper Plates
  • Craft Sticks
  • Tape/Glue

Reading and Discussion

  • Preview vocabulary from the story with students.
  • While reading Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss to students, pause at the appropriate times to ask the following discussion questions:
    • What is the setting of the story?
    • What is the problem in the story?
    • What does Yertle the Turtle think is the solution?
    • How does Yertle's solution cause problems for Mack?
    • How does Yertle respond to Mack's request for help?
    • How does Yertle react when he sees the moon?
    • What happens when Mack gets too much pressure?
    • At the end of the story, what happens to Yertle?
    • Turn and talk: What message is the author trying to send?

Vocabulary Review Game

Materials needed: muffin tins, paper, markers, ping pong ball, counters (four colors), dictionary, painter's tape

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