K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will learn number sense, numeration, and numerical operations.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

60 minutes


  • apples — one for each pair of students
  • knife — teacher use only
  • bowl
  • paper towels
  • pencils


  1. Introduce the lesson by stating, “Today we will learn how to divide an object in half. We will also learn how to add two numbers together.”
  2. Explain that dividing an object in half means to divide it into two equal pieces. Draw a square on the board and divide it in half. Show that if you do not divide it right down the middle, the pieces will not be equal.
  3. Draw several objects on the board and ask each student to draw a line straight down the middle and divide the object in half.
  4. Take out the apples and explain that you are going to cut each apple in half. Put the students in pairs and give each pair an apple. Ask each pair of students to show you where to cut the apple and cut each apple in half.
  5. Give each student half of the apple. Have each student take the seeds out of his or her half of the apple.
  6. Use the seeds to show simple addition problems. Draw a large apple on the board with a dotted line right down the middle. Under the apple write ___ + ___ = ___. Draw different amounts of seeds on each side of the apple. Write the amount of seeds that are on each side on the ___ under that side. Ask the students to help you count the total amount of seeds in the whole apple. With their partners, students can show the addition problems on a teacher-made worksheet with many apples on it.
  7. Do several examples to be sure that students understand the activity.
  8. Students will complete the worksheet with their partner. Students will show the different addition problems for sums of 1-5.
  9. Do the example of sums to 5 on the board. For example, if a student is doing sums of 5, they would use five seeds and draw all five seeds on the left side of one of the apples on the sheet. This would show 5+0=5. Then they would move one seed over to the right side of the apple to show 4+1=5. Next, they would move another seed to the right side of the apple to show 3+2=5… and so on.
  10. Students may do addition problems for sums of 6-10 if they catch on quickly.
  11. At the end of the lesson, while the students are eating their apples, (I brought caramel for them to dip them in), you may choose to review the concept of half by using the following suggestions:
    • Ask the students, “How many equal pieces are there when an object is divided in half?”
    • Show different objects that are divided into two pieces and ask the students to tell you which objects are divided in half.
    • Do several examples of addition problems using apples and seeds on the board, just like the worksheet.
    • Give the students another sheet to work on at home for practice.


  • Monitor the students as they complete the worksheet in class.
  • Check homework assignment.
  • Incorporate the apple problems on the next test to see if they retained what they have learned.

Supplemental information


This lesson is a great way to teach the concept of “half” and simple addition facts through the use of manipulatives. It is a fun lesson and helps EC students because they are able to see and touch the seeds to show addition problems.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • Geometry
          • 1.G.3 Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand...
        • Operations & Algebraic Thinking
          • 1.OAT.1 Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol...
          • 1.OAT.2 Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
      • Kindergarten

        • Counting & Cardinality
          • K.CC.4Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality. When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only...
          • K.CC.5Count 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.
        • Operations & Algebraic Thinking
          • K.OAT.1Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings1, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
          • K.OAT.2Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will read, write, and model whole numbers through 99 and compute with whole numbers.
    • Objective 1.03: Develop fluency with single-digit addition and corresponding differences using strategies such as modeling, composing and decomposing quantities, using doubles, and making tens.
    • Objective 1.04: Create, model, and solve problems that use addition, subtraction, and fair shares (between two or three).