Smallest to Biggest – A measurement and geometry lesson plan for Foundation



This lesson plan falls under the area of Measurement and Geometry in mathematics and has been created to develop students understanding of smallest to biggest. I would use this lesson towards the end of teaching the concept and use it as an assessment and portfolio piece to examine if students have developed the concept.

Prior to this lesson students would have had hands-on experience in developing the concepts of smallest and biggest and understanding their meaning. The afternoon prior to this lesson I would have read the text A Pig is Big by Douglas Florian to the children and we would have had a discussion about it.  This lesson incorporates literature as a way to visually represent the mathematical concept to students.

Australian Curriculum Links:

  • Use direct and indirect comparisons to decide which is longer, heavier or holds more, and explain reasoning in everyday language (ACMMG006)

Lesson Plan Objectives:

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Organise three different sized objects from smallest to biggest.
  • Students will be able to verbally identify the smallest and biggest object in their sequence.
  • Illustrate three objects in order from the smallest object to the biggest object.

Students’ Prior Knowledge:

Students would need to have had hands-on experience in developing the concepts of smallest and biggest and understand their meaning.

The afternoon prior to this lesson you would need to have read the text A Pig is Big by Douglas Florian to the children and discuss what they think the story is about.

Provision for Learner Diversity/Educational Risk:

A greater number of objects and differentiation in size will be given to those who are able order objects from smallest to biggest and need extending.

For those who are struggling with the directionality of the concept of smallest to biggest I would suggest having either a blank sheet of paper and allow the child, with assistance, to write smallest on the left hand side and biggest on the right hand side.

For those who are struggling, I would also leave the example of smallest to biggest up for students to have as a visual aid.

Lesson Plan Sequence:

Motivation and Introduction:

  • Re-read the book A Pig is Big by Douglas Florian and ask the following questions:
    •  “Who can remember which animal was the smallest?”
    • “Who can remember which object was the biggest?”
  • Explain to the students “Today we are going to be putting different objects in order from smallest to biggest. Like in the book, where we looked at the pig being the smallest, the car being bigger than a pig, and the universe being the biggest, we are going to be arranging objects from small to big.
  • Explain to the students that you have taken some of the objects out of the book and together we are going to put them in order from the smallest to the biggest on the whiteboard.
  • Jumble the images of the pig, car, truck and street on the whiteboard. Ask students which, out of the objects on the board is the smallest: the pig, car, truck or street and which is the biggest.

Lesson Steps (Lesson content, structure, strategies & Key Questions):

  • Students will go back to their groups (Each child will have a ball of play dough out in front of them).
  • Using your example (Have three pigs, of different sizes, made and put in ascending order), explain to the children that they need to make an object, it can be an object from the book but they need to make three different sizes of it. They will need to have a very small one and a big one and one that is in the middle. They will then have to arrange their three play dough objects from the smallest to the biggest.
  • Once students have sequenced their play dough objects from the smallest to the biggest ask them to tell you (and point to) the biggest and the smallest.

In your anecdotal notes write down if students were able to identify the object that they created that is the smallest and the object that is the biggest. 

  • Next students will illustrate the objects they created and will draw them in the (same) order from smallest to biggest.
  • Under the smallest they will write smallest and under the biggest they will write biggest. (For those who are having difficulty, I would suggest getting them to sound it out, checking for letters that they can hear before showing them).

Whilst students are illustrating their objects take photos of their play dough sequence to use in their assessments.

Lesson Closure:

  • Go around to the group/s of students and ask students to share verbally which ones are the biggest and smallest play dough objects that they made.
  • Ask anyone in the other groups if they can see anything that shows them how they can tell which one is the biggest.


  • Conduct an observational assessment where you write anecdotal notes to clearly assess if students have met the objectives.
  • As students are working, jot down notes on an observational chart with your students’ names on it.
  • Take a photo of students play dough showing smallest to biggest sequence and collect their illustrated sequence. Put the two work samples together and add any other anecdotal notes.





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