Jumping Jacks

In this lesson, children will time themselves and chart their progress as they do sets of jumping jacks.

Content Area:

Beginning Skills and Processes

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions
  • Use tools and technology to assist with science and engineering investigations

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Collecting, describing, comparing and recording information from observations and investigations
  • Using mathematical and computational thinking
  • Using nonstandard and standard scientific tools for investigation
  • Becoming familiar with technological tools that can aid in scientific inquiry
toddler in garden

Jumping Jacks

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Explain that today the children will be timing the number of jumping jacks that they can do in 10 seconds. Ask: “Does everyone know how to do a jumping jack?” Model how to do a jumping jack.
  2. Before you ask the children to start their activity, ask them to them wave their hands in the air and time them for 10 seconds to give them an idea of how long 10 seconds is.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Ask the children to predict how many jumping jacks they can do in 10 seconds. Have them use their recording sheets to keep track of their predictions.
  2. Say: “Ready, set, go!” and begin timing for 10 seconds. Encourage the children to count the number of jumping jacks as they jump.
  3. Say: “Stop!” when the 10 seconds are up. Have the children record the number of jumping jacks completed.
  4. Ask: “Does that number match what you predicted? Did you do more jumping jacks than you predicted? Did you do less jumping jacks than you predicted?” Have them record their results.
  5. Repeat several times. Each time, record the predictions and the actual number of jumping jacks performed. Ask: “Are you getting better at predicting? Which time did you do the most jumping jacks?”

Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Predict: To guess what might happen next
  • Collect: To gather a group of things together for observation or study
  • Record: To set down in writing
  • Data: Information that is collected through a study or an investigation
  • Analyze: To examine information in order to make conclusions

Early Science Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Be just beginning to count in sequence
Child care providers may:
  • Just have the children count the number of exercises that they can do in an allotted period of time. “How many jumping jacks can you do in 10 seconds? How many toe touches can you do in 10 seconds?”
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be able to count and have a rudimentary understanding of the concept of time
  • Be building stamina and have a lot of energy to burn
Child care providers may:
  • Extend the activity by changing the amount of time allotted for the jumping jacks. Ask: How many jumping jacks can you do in 15 seconds? Thirty seconds?  Sixty seconds?
  • Change the exercises. Tell the children to hop on one foot, touch their toes and hop on both feet. Compare the different exercises. Ask: “Can you do more jumping jacks in 10 seconds or more one-footed hops in 10 seconds?”

Suggested Books

  • That’s a Possibility! A Book About What Might Happen by Bruce Goldstone
  • Do You Wanna Bet? Your Chance to Find Out About Probability by Jean Cushman
  • Telling Time with Big Mama Cat by Dan Harper

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • Set up a short distance for the children to run and time them as they run, skip or hop that distance.
  • Time the children as they do an activity and see if they can improve their times each time they perform the activity. Lining up or cleaning up a project are great activities to time and then have the children try to improve their times as they repeat the activity. Count out loud as they are doing the activity. Say: “Yesterday, it took us 22 seconds to line up quietly to go outside. Let’s see if we can beat that time today and line up quietly in 20 seconds or less.”

Web Resources

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