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In Front Of or Behind

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematics thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
Grades:
Subjects:
Mathematics (5,300)

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In Front Of or Behind

Purpose/Skills

  • To understand the concepts of in front of and behind
  • To compare positions in space
  • To be able to talk about positions of in front of or behind

Materials
Train books or pictures of trains; cards with simple drawings of train car shapes and the words engine, passenger car, and caboose written on them; strip with outlines of train cars

Literature Suggestion
Read The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, or another train book. Help children identify different train cars such as engine, flatcar, and caboose.

Vocabulary
in front of
behind

Warm-Up
Ask children to talk about some things they know about trains. Gently prompt with questions such as, "What is the name of the car that is in the front that pulls the train? What cars come behind the engine?"

Procedure

  • Tell children that they are going to play the "Train Game." Invite three children to be the engine, the passenger car, and the caboose, and have them hold the signs up. Read each sign aloud.
  • As you position children, explain the concepts of in front of and behind.
  • Have the train move around the room. When the children return to the circle, have them hand their signs to three other children. Help children tell where the engine stands, where the passenger car stands, and where the caboose stands. Continue the activity until everyone has had a turn being part of the train.
  • When children line up in the course of daily activities, ask them questions about their positions. Who are you standing in front of? Who are you standing behind? Who is in front of Bob?
Enrichment
  • At a center, place small versions of the engine, passenger car, caboose, and a strip with the outlines of the railroad cars on it. Children match the cars to their outline shapes.
  • Demonstrate the activity using the positional words. "The engine goes in front of the passenger car."
  • For children who are ready, you may also wish to use train cars to teach the ordinal words of first, second, and third.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child easily demonstrates the meanings of in front of and behind.
  • In Process - Child participates but needs help when asked to demonstrate the meaning of in front of or behind.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet demonstrate the meanings of in front of and behind.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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