First Grade Lesson

Lesson Plan

And Tango Makes Three

By: Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell


Designer:  Jennifer Bernstein

Date of Lesson:  December 2018

Grade Level and Group Size:  First grade/ 28 Students

Length of Lesson/Time of Lesson: 45 minutes centers/11:00-11:45

Subject(s):  Math, Social Studies, & Language/Literacy


Topic(s): Math-Students will strengthen their patterning skills using manipulatives independently or in pairs if needed. They will make their own patterns with the supplies in the center that represent their family. Students will also graph their patterns as a class to see similar and different families from their own. They will then practice adding how many families were the same as theirs and add how many of the families were different from theirs.

Social Studies-Students will learn about the structure of a gay family through reading the book, And Tango Makes Three. They will strengthen these understandings by working with the family patterning activity in the manipulative center. They will think about their own family structures and view other possible structures.

Language/Literacy-Students will work on sequencing skills by retelling the story of Tango using a graphic organizer.

Themes: Diversity, differences, family, adoption, same-sex parents, acceptance, traditional families, non-traditional families


Planning and Preparation to Teach

Purpose of Lesson: This lesson is meant to introduce children to different family structures and to explore their own family structure. They will be able to make connections to different families through the reading of the book, And Tango Makes Three. The family patterning activity will allow students to improve their patterning skills while looking at many other different family structures.


Standards addressed:

Math-Making patterns with different families structures and compare types of families

Extention-1.OA.A.1 use addition within 20

Social Studies- 1.5 Recognize the ways in which they are all part of the same community, sharing prin­ciples, goals, and traditions despite their varied ancestry; the forms of diversity in their school and community; and the benefits and challenges of a diverse population.

Language/Literacy-CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.


Learning Objectives:

SWBAT strengthen their patterning skills in the manipulatives area independently or in pairs if needed. They will copy patterns and make their own patterns with the supplies in the center.

SWBAT add the different structures of families made up by their classmates.

SWBAT learn about the structure of a gay family through reading the book, And Tango Makes Three. They will strengthen these understandings by working with the family patterning activity in the manipulative center.

SWBAT work on sequencing skills by retelling the story of Tango with props as a group.


Materials Required:

For Students:

  • Math Center
    • Houses
    • Pattern Sheets
    • Family Manipulatives
  • Language Arts/Literacy
    • Graphic Organizer

For Teacher:

  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Penguin Props
  • Assessment Checklist
  • Photo of Family
  • Family Story


Context for Learning: Students will sit on the rug whole group during the read aloud and discussion about the story And Tango Makes Three. This will allow students to work together while discussing their ideas and thoughts about the story. Students will be able to work individually or in pairs while working with the manipulatives at their center creating a model of their family. This will allow time for students to reflect on their own understanding of the story and how their family is structured.



Pre-instruction/Anticipatory Set: The ‘hook’ to grab the student's attention: Show your students a picture of your own family, introducing each member and their relationship to you. Explain why they are important to you and ask some essential/higher order of thinking (HOT) questions.

Essential/HOT questions:

  1. What makes a family?
  2. How are all families similar in the way they love and care for their young?
  3. What does it mean to welcome a person's differences?
  4. How can I learn to accept a person that is different from me?
  5. What makes families different or unique?
  6. How does having different families make your world better?

Inform students of learning objective:

Today we are learning:

So we can:

We know we have learned it when:


Pre-teach: Introduce the story And Tango Makes Three and introduce vocabulary terms that children will understand.

  • Family-a group of people going through the world together, often adults and the children they care for
  • Family Structure-the people in a person’s life that make up their family. (ex. Two dads and a son)
  • Extended family-all of the relatives or people making up a family, whether or not they live together; often this includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
  • Love-to like someone or something very much.
  • Couples-two people who have a romantic relationship together.
  • Different-not alike in character or quality
  • Same-agreeing in kind, look, quality, etc.
  • Unique-having no like or equal.
  • Adopt-to raise a child you did not give birth to.
  • Single parent-an adult raising a child without a partner.
  • Diversity-variety, differences

Reteach: Review vocabulary words, essential questions, and objectives.




  • Tell students I have a story to share with you today. It’s about a family. Not a human family but a family of penguins. (Show cover of book.) Even though this is a book with illustrations instead of photographs, it is a real story. (Show the photograph of Silo and Roy.) These are the two penguins on the front cover. The penguin on the cover is their baby. What do you think that this book might be about?
  • Read the book allowing children to interject if they have something to add about their own family.
  • Explain to children that the penguins have a different family structure than they might have in their family. The penguin in the story had two dads, many of you might have a dad and a mom, or maybe a grandma and a mom, lots of you have siblings. Even though the penguin had a different family structure than you, does that mean you can’t be friends?
  • Transition students by having them tell the class their family structure (if comfortable) or show their peers their favorite page in the book.

Before Centers Whole Group (5 minutes):

  • Remember the book that we read this morning? Who was it about? Tango had who for parents? And we talked about how even though his family might be different from ours we can still be friends and it is okay to be different.
  • Today we have some new activities in the manipulatives center. There are different houses with different family structures in them. You will have to create your own family structure with the members in your family.

During Centers Small Group (10 - 15 minutes each):

Explain the patterning activity once more if needed and then ask students:

  • Do you see your family structure represented?
  • How could you represent your family?
  • Can you make your own pattern with one of the families?
  • How do we know if something is a pattern?
  • Is this activity similar to another activity that we have in this center?
  • Do you need to have the same skin color to be in a family?
  • Which family in our center has the same family structure as Tango’s family?

Check for Understanding: Determination of whether students have "got it" before proceeding. It is essential that students practice doing it right so the teacher must know that students understand before proceeding to practice. If there is any doubt that the class has not understood, the concept/skill should be retaught before practice begins.





Students will copy patterns and make their own patterns using the family patterning manipulatives.

Photographs of the children (with their work) in the manipulative center

Checklist and anecdotal observation

Students will identify their own family structure and recognize other family structures other than their own.

Photographs of the child in the manipulative center

Checklist and anecdotal observation

Students will retell the main events of And Tango Makes Three with use of a graphic organizer.

Completed graphic organizer

Checklist and anecdotal observation



Whole Group (15 minutes):

What story did we read about today?

Who can help me retell the story?

Show students a picture of own family. Explain I have a family like Tango too but my family structure is different. I have one mom and one dad instead of two dads like Tango. Some of you might have a different family structure than me. Have each student show a picture of their family to their peers.

“If Time” Questions to have students consider:

  • Have you ever had a friend whose family sounded like the families in the math area?
  • How about Tango’s family?
  • Do you have any questions about the families in the math center?
  • Can you think of any other different family structures that we have not created patterns for?
  • What are some other things that make families different besides who takes care of the children?


Count how many different variations of family structures there are within your classroom.

Create your family tree.




People Manipulatives:







Graphic Organizer for Retelling the Story: