Story books provoking lesson ideas

My love for picture story books has me reading to my students at any opportunity I have. Linking to the curriculum, I use a range of wonderful titles to provocate students’ curiosities and wonderings, inspiring them to immerse themselves in further learning.
Here are three of my favourite titles and activities that link to the curriculum.

Who Sank the Boat?
Author: Pamela Allen
Story Overview – Five friends, a donkey, cow, sheep, pig, and a mouse decide to go for a row in a boat. One by one as they each hop into the boat, it gets lower and lower in the water until it sinks.
Curriculum Links – Mathematics: measurement, capacity, weight, predicting
Activity – Design and create a boat to hold as many marbles as possible
Resources – Plasticine, tub of water, marbles, scales

    1. In pairs, students sketch their boat design
    1. Using plasticine, students create their boat
    1. Students predict how many marbles their boat will hold before sinking
    1. Place boat in tub of water, adding marbles one by one.
    1. Keep count of the number of marbles
  1. When the boat sinks, weigh the total number of marbles the boat held

Alexander’s Outing
Author: Pamela Allen
Story Overview – A duckling by the name of Alexander, doesn’t listen to his mother, and gets distracted and falls down a hole. The public try to save Alexander by pouring water down the hole to float Alexander to back to the surface.
Curriculum Links – Mathematics: estimation, measurement, capacity
Activity – Find out how many cups of water it will take to bring the duck to the surface
Resources – Rubber duck, container, measuring cup, water

    1. In pairs, students estimate how many cups of water it will take to bring their duck to the surface (top of the container)
    1. Place rubber duck in empty container
    1. Fill cup with water, and empty into container.
    1. Continue until rubber duck reaches the surface. Keep count of the number of cups
  1. Extension: Add up the total millilitres and then convert to litres.

Are we there yet?
Author: Allison Lester
Story Overview – Grace and her family go on a caravaning holiday around Australia.
Curriculum Links – Location, Story recount, sequence,
Activity 1 – Map the location of featured landmarks
Resources – Computer, GSuite account, Google MyMaps

    1. Individually or in a collaborative Google MyMaps, students place ‘markers’ of the stories landmarks
    1. Edit the marker, adding a description and an image or video
    1. Find the directions to landmarks
  1. Measure the distance between landmarks

Activity 2 – Map the location of featured landmarks
Resources – Computer, GSuite account, Google Tour Creator

    1. Individually, in Google Tour Creator, students create 360° scenes of the stories landmarks
    1. Add a text description and/or audio narration for each landmark
  1. Within each scene, students can add multiple points of interest with a 2D image, text, and audio narration, to highlight specific features of the story.

View Tour Creator –


Eleni Kyritsis is an award winning Year 3 Teacher and Leader of Curriculum & Innovation from Melbourne, Australia. Eleni facilitates professional learning workshops around the world that focus on unleashing creativity and curiosity in classrooms

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