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The Tortoise and the Hare 

Curriculum Guide

The Tortoise and the Hare
Click on a subject to view its corresponding curriculum guide

Ancient Greece has had great influence on the world as we know it today, from our language, to our architecture, to our food, and more. Find out more about Ancient Greece at these websites:

  • Ancient Greece - many links to explore: history, crafts, religion, etc.

  • Explore geography, games, clip art and more at Mr. Donn's Greece site.

A myth is another type of traditional story made up to explain something. While fables usually explain something about human nature and have a moral, myths attempts to explain a phenomenon in nature, often using gods as characters. Ancient Greek myths give us a window into the world of that time period. Learn more about Greek myths and Greek heroes with these resources:

  • Mr. Donn has a Greek God ​page with lots of links to follow. 

  • D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths ( is a wonderful illustrated resource.

Historians believe that the first Olympic games, athletic competitions between city-states in ancient Greece, were played in the 8th century BC, in honor of the Greek god Zeus. Only male youths were allowed to play and the sole activity was running in the earliest games. Later the games included other events such as chariot racing, wrestling, and long jump, among others. Although interest began growing before the end of the 19th century, the Modern Olympics began in 1896 and were played in Athens, Greece. Learn more about the Olympic games at these websites, and find activities to complete as well.


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The tortoise in the story is a REPTILE, while the hare is a MAMMAL. What other animals are in the story? Use the resources below to classify them (organize them into groups).​

Scientists classify, or group, animals based on what characteristics they have in common. The classification categories (from most general to most specific) are: Kingdom (such as Animals or Plants), Phylum (such as Chordates or Arthropods), Class (such as Mammals or Aves), Order ( ex: Marsupials), FamilyGenusSpecies. The scientific name of an animal includes its genus and species, and sometimes subspecies, and is in Latin. Explore the Animal Kingdom with these fun links, games and lesson plans:



  • The tortoise and the hare's race seems at first to depend upon speed, and we assume the hare will win. Let's take a look at the science of speed and motion: 

  • Experiments- speed, Spool Racer project,  Balloon car experiment,  Measuring boat speedMeasuring wind speed

  •  Isaac Newton was a 17th century scientist who discovered the three Laws of Motion, helping us to understand more about the universe.

  • Explore a link here with some games for discovering more about Newton's Laws of Motion​

  • Here are three videos of demonstrations to show how these laws work: First LawSecond LawThird Law.


Aesop was a Greek fablist. Where is Greece? Let's find out about it!


  • Plot and label the locations of the most recent 20 Olympic Games on a world map (listing is here - scroll down)

  • Greece is a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Learn what a peninsula is in this online glossary of geographical terms. What other countries are peninsulas (look at this world map)? Which of our United States is a peninsula?


  • Print out this map of Greece. Use an atlas you have at home and label the major cities and geographical features that stand out.​



  • Make a model of the Parthenon with cardboard, clay, or other material from around your home.


  • Make a Greek meal with your family. Find hundreds of recipes, from appetizers to pastas to desserts, at this website.

Language Arts
Language Arts

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Parts of speech: Adjectives and Adverbs

  • An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. There are many adjectives in The Tortoise and the Hare.

  • Adjectives: long, proud, powerful, fast, speedy, professional, eager, swollen, tiny, remarkable, small, swift, terrible, embarrassed, speechless, slow, flashy, short, sore, respectable, cool, famous, red, white, French, delicious, every, steady, kind, spectacular, silly, old, wide, lovely, magnificent, orange.

  • An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb. You can find many adverbs in the story as well.

  • Adverbs: fast, very, exceedingly, modestly, slowly, first, finally, really, suddenly, calmly, barely, fortunately, probably, meanwhile, optimistically, most, almost, too, early, shortly, soon.


  • Many grammar games including multiple games for adjectives and adverbs.






What's a thesaurus?

  • A thesaurus is used to find synonyms, or words that have the same, or almost the same, meaning.

  • Use a thesaurus to look up some of the above adjectives and adverbs and find similar words.

  • Take a paragraph from a favorite book and replace as many words as you can using the thesaurus.


  • Play the word game "Add it": Write a very simple skeletal sentence, such as "The bear ate the fish." Then take turns adding one or two words to the sentence to make it more interesting. The only rules are that each time you add to the sentence, the result must be a complete sentence; and there can be no more than 3 adjectives or adverbs describing any one thing.  Example: The brown bear ate the fish. The brown bear hungrily ate the fish. The brown bear hungrily ate the squirming fish. Last night the brown bear hungrily ate the squirming fish. Etc. Keep playing until you can no longer add to the sentence. These can get really funny!

Poetry on Animals

  • Write an animal cinquain!

  • A cinquain is a five line poem with a very specific structure. Visit this site for a lesson plan on writing a cinquain.

The Greek Alphabet

  • We get many of our English words from Greek (words such as "acrobat", "choir", "democracy", "gigantic", and even "fable") and also use Greek alphabet symbols in math. (The symbol "π", or "pi", used in formulas for the circumference and area of a circle is one of the Greek letters of the alphabet).



  • Study some of these Latin and Greek word roots, found at Fact Monster (scroll down past the Latin). You may be surprised at how many of our words come from Greek!


  • Here are "flashcards" of Greek word roots to practice and Greek alphabet practice pages.


  • Other activities and ways to help kids learn word roots can be found at this website.

What is a Fable?

  • A fable is a morality story, often with animal characters that take on human characteristics, personality traits, and flaws.

  • "Aesop's Fables" is a collection of stories from the 5th century BC which originated in Greece. There is some disagreement about who wrote them. Some say it was a Greek slave named Aesop, others say he didn't exist and that the fables were written by numerous others of the time period. But regardless of who wrote them, Aesop's Fables have been around for a long time, highlighting lessons and morals for all of us.


  • Here is a collection of Aesop's Fables from an art school. Students over the years have illustrated the stories in wonderful ways! Explore the stories and find one whose illustrations you really like. Describe the artwork.


  • Choose a fable to illustrate yourself and display the art in your home.


  • Write your own fable! Make sure you include a lesson for readers to learn from the actions of your characters!


  • The book "Lousy, Rotten, Stinkin' Grapes" ( is a humorous, and wonderfully-illustrated retelling of the fable of the fox and the grapes by Aesop.  







  • Jakata Tales are Buddhist fables from the period 300 BC to 400 AD. Explore some of these here.


  • Joe Harris collected and retold dozens of African American stories from post-Civil War culture. They became known as Uncle Remus stories.  Here are the stories in their original dialect.


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  • Make a family of adorable bottle-top turtles (or tortoises) out of inexpensive materials you probably already have at home and construct a habitat for them using paper, crayons, tape and scissors.


  • Check out Deep Space Sparkle for art projects. Many of the lessons are free, and some are for purchase. It is a well-laid out site with many ideas to explore!  Here is a link to some animal art projects at Deep Space Sparkle.


  • Make a placemat collage of animals. Use old magazines (you can get these from used book stores; National Geographic is perfect for this), scissors, glue or modpodge (from your local craft store), and poster board or cardstock.  Cut and paste pictures or words of animals all over the paper, overlap so there is no blank space, and paint the entire finished collage with modpodge.  Once dry, laminate the project (this home laminator is wonderful and well worth the modest price) and use on your kitchen table! 


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The Instruments of the Orchestra 

  • The contrabassoon is the lowest instrument in the woodwind family. It is a double reed instrument, which means that the vibrating part is made of two joined cane reeds.


  • You can make a double reed instrument with a drinking straw or two. Check out this video for instructions. You will need nothing more than straws, a hole punch, and a pair of scissors. (PreK+​)

  • These books teach about the instruments of the orchestra in fun ways: Meet the Orchestra



Beats and Time Signatures

  • Most music is written with a steady pulse, or beat, that can be felt and heard. The beat is then grouped into measures- some beats strong, some weak- which gives the music an organized and predictable feel. The way the beats are grouped, and which note is used for the beat, together form the "time signature". In the book with your CD you can see an example of a time signature on page 7.


  • Listen to Sousa's Semper Fidelis march and notice the obvious "1-2-1-2-1-2" feel of the music. Music with 2 or 4 beats per measure is in "duple meter"


  • A waltz, such as this one by Strauss, is in "triple meter" and you can clearly sense the "1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3" (even more so if you try to dance to it!)


  • This song by Mozart, "Ave Verum Corpus" has 4 slow beats per measure and the quarter note gets a beat. This time (4/4 time) is called "common time" and is sometimes marked in music with just a ‘C'.


  • Sometimes music has a non-traditional structure and the measures do not all have the same amount of beats, and/or have changing accents. This is called "mixed meter". There might be a measure with 3 beats followed by a measure with 4 beats and then one with 2. The song "America" from the musical West Side Story alternates the time signatures 6/8 (a quick 1-2-3-4-5-6) and 3/4 (3 slightly slower beats). Listen to it here and see if you can count it!


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Speed and distance problems:


  • Speed challenge race worksheet with activity, graphing and questions.

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