Melody Casey
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Primary
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Education Standards

    Don't Feed the Alligator (AIG IRP)

    Don't Feed the Alligator (AIG IRP)


    The children will use a mat with a space to place the alligator (two popsicle sticks glued together with a googlie eye and paper teeth.)  Each group of two will have a deck of cards and a stack of counters (beans, unifix cubes, red/yellow chips). They will play a game where the person who doesn't lose all their chips wins. This lesson was developed by NCDPI as part of the Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted Instructional Resources Project. This lesson plan has been vetted at the state level for standards alignment, AIG focus, and content accuracy.

    Lesson Overview

    Brief Description of Lesson/Task/Activity: The children will use a mat with a space to place the alligator (two popsicle sticks glued together with a googlie eye and paper teeth.)  Each group of two will have a deck of cards and a stack of counters (beans, unifix cubes, red/yellow chips). They will play a game where the person who doesn't lose all their chips wins.

    Time Frame: 2/ 30 min. classes

    Type of Differentiation for AIGs:

    • Extension
    • Acceleration

    Adaptations for AIGs:

    • Content
    • Process

    Explanation of How Resource is Appropriate for AIGs: This game will allow the AIG kindergarten student to create their own abstract numbers to be represented by the jack, queen, king, and ace, They will show that they have a solid understanding of comparing numbers. They will learn to understand the strategy by comparing numbers and be creative in thinking abstractly about the face cards. They will do some reflective writing about their learning in their math journals.

    Needed Resources/Materials:

    • One deck of cards for each group of 2.
    • 20 counters for each group of 2.
    • One mat with a square in the middle and room for one playing card on each side. (see attached)
    • One rule card with representation for jack, queen, king, aces, (to be created by the two students playing). (see attached)

    Teacher Notes: You will want to make sure that the students have had a little practice with greater than and less than.  Also make sure that they are able to work with numbers larger than 10.

    Mathematical Practices:

    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.  Student will make sense of quantities.
    8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.  Student will continually evaluate the reasonableness of their immediate results.

    Stage 1: Engage

    Gather your AIG students together and show them an alligator made from popsicle sticks.  Students can practice greater than and less the with the alligator made from popsicle sticks(see directions above in resources) using small numbers.  Teach the students how to turn the alligator around depending on which way he is going.  Teach them to say: “5 is less than 7   or 7 is greater than 2”. You will also want to introduce them to playing cards.  Show them how most cards have numbers with shapes that they can count, but some cards don't have numbers.  

    Ask them why they think these cards are called jack, queen, king, or ace. Tell them that when they play “Don't feed the alligator” They will get to decide how much these cards will equal. (If this part is too challenging, simply delete it from the game and let them play with playing cards 2-10)

    Tell them that they will play a game called “Don't Feed the Alligator,” but first they have to make up some rules. Show them a deck of cards.  Explain that in the deck there are 4 of each card (take out the two jokers). Show them that they will get to decide as partners how much the jack, queen, king, and ace will equal. Each group of two is then given a mat, a stack of cards, ten counters each (alligator food), and a paper to make rules.  Tell them the object of the game is to not run out of alligator food. The person with food left at the end of the game is the winner. 

    After the two students have decided their rules, each player is given 10 pieces of alligator food. Each player draws a card, and the alligator is turned toward the larger number. That student must feed the alligator 1 piece of food.  If a jack, queen, king, or ace is drawn then the students will follow the rules they set. These rules might include add 2 to the next card you draw or 15 for the jack, 20 for the queen, 25 for the king, 30 for the ace for the values of the cards.  They will also have to decide what to do if two of the same card is pulled. (If making their own rules seems too hard for the students to do, you can do it whole group for all the game boards)  

    The teacher should model a game with a student in front of the whole group.  

    Stage 2: Elaborate

    The students make their rules and play their game. When they have both drawn their cards, they should say for example: “2 is less than 8.  You feed the alligator or 8 is greater than 2 so I feed the alligator.” Remind the students that the objective of the game is to not give their food away.

    If you play a second day, let them have new partners and make new rules.

    Guiding questions:  

    • “Why do most games award the person with the higher number?”
    • “Why does the process of making up rules require agreement by both players?”
    • “Did this game challenge you and keep your interest?”
    • “Could you teach this game to a student who has never played it before?”
    • “How does it feel to lose a game?”
    • “What can you do to be a gracious loser?”
    • “What will you do if you both pull the same card?”

    Stage 3: Evaluate

    Summative Assessment will occur when children are able to quickly and correctly determine which numbers are larger than others even when those numbers are abstract.

    Formative Assessment will occur while children are playing depending on if they have trouble or are not following their own rules and playing fairly and turning the alligator.
    Formative Assessment will also occur when the children write in their journals and are able to talk about the game in their own words.

    Teacher Notes: Once the students have played this game well, they can pair up with non-AIG students to teach them how to play. You can eliminate the cards above 10 and not do the rules and wild cards.