The Animal Grid Game

Early Years/Primary
Age 3-9


Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Describe, sort, classify, build, and compare two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures, and describe the location and movement of objects through investigation (#17).

Primary: Geometry and Spatial Sense​

  • Identify and describe the locations and movements of shapes and objects.​


  • Students will be sitting on the carpet in a circle.


  • Animal grid (Appendix A – download): 1 large laminated grid for teacher, 1 small grid placed in plastic sleeve per student​
  • Clipboards​
  • Markers​
  • Tissues to erase routes


  • Introduce students to the grid, highlighting the number of squares there are in each column and row.​
  • Explain that students will be planning routes for a zookeeper to get from the animal house (top left square marked with an X) to an animal.​
  • Introduce rules: paths cannot go on a diagonal or through a square that has another animal on it.​
  • Complete a demo of a 2-step pathway (e.g. to feed the rhinoceros, go 4 squares to the right and 4 squares down). Be sure to put a dot on the square where the path changes direction.​
  • Introduce the code as a method to write this pathway, using arrows pointing in the direction of movement with the number of spaces moved beside it (e.g. → 4 and ↓ 4 to the rhinoceros).​
  • For more practice, have students plan the route to another animal and/or write a 2-step code (→ 7 and ↓ 1) but do not draw a pathway. Have students visualize what animal the zookeeper is going to feed.​
  • Give students their own grid on a clipboard and repeat the activity individually.​
  • Encourage students to make multiple routes to the same animal.

Look Fors

  • Do children use directional language (e.g. right, left, up, down)?​
  • Can children visualize the code?​
  • How do children communicate the code? Through symbols? Through language? Both?


  • As children become proficient, introduce 3-step codes and encourage children to create pathways with more steps.

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