Ladybug Houses

Based on Julie Comay and Carol Stephenson’s Mathematics Lesson

To view a detailed lesson plan, please click here

Curriculum – Number Sense and Numeration

For students to begin to develop an understanding of numbers using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationships.


  Students and the teacher begin by sitting on the floor with a working mat in front of them.


  • Planko or any other material to make a square
  • Little ladybugs – lots!


  • Tell the students that today they will be building ladybug houses.
  • Demonstrate that four pieces of planko joined together makes a ladybug house.
  • Instruct children to work with a particular number. Start with lower numbers and increase as children get more proficient.


  • After a number has been established, ask students to decide how many ladybugs should be on inside of the house and how many should go outside.
  • Have students get into pairs and ask them to make as many ladybug houses with ladybugs inside and outside.
  • For example, if you are working with the number 10, students could put five ladybugs inside and five outside, or six inside and four outside. The key is that they are always working with the number 10.


  • Ask the children to choose which ladybug house was their favourite.
  • As children announce how many ladybugs are inside and outside, the teacher writes the math equation on the board.
  • Students may start to see patterns, such as 7 + 2 = 9 and 2 + 7 = 9.

Extension Activity
Reinforce the ladybug lesson

  • In pairs or threes, have students come and make ladybug houses again.
  • Take a picture of their work and print them out.
  • Have students pick 3 of their favourite houses, write a math equation for it, and draw the equivalent picture.
  • To scaffold their learning write out ______ + ______ = _______ and draw a box beside it to show the lady bug house.