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Little Red Hen Unit Study

Updated on November 26, 2014

H is for Hen

H For the Hen
H For the Hen | Source

H is for The Little Red Hen

Once upon a time there was a little red hen and her baby chicks. The mother hen found some grains of wheat and decided to plant them in order to make a loaf of bread to feed her hungry brood. This is the beginning of the familiar tale of the Little Red Hen, one of my children's favorite tales.

In this unit study we will be learning about the story of The Little Red Hen as well as about chickens and how to grow wheat. We will look at the Little Red Hen's work ethic and compare that to the attitude of the other animals in the story.

We will use the story of The Little Red Hen to as the theme to learn language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music and physical education. We will conclude our unit study with a lapbook that will display all that we have learned in our unit study of The Little Red Hen.

Come discover the fun, hands-on activities that the Little Red Hen has hatched up while teaching her chicks...

Language Arts

Little Red Hen Unit Study

Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen and Other Stories
The Little Red Hen and Other Stories | Source

Classic tale of The Little Red Hen

Do you remember reading the tale of the Little Red Hen while sitting on your mother knee?

This is the tale that I remember with the hen who works so hard planting and caring for the wheat until it is harvested, ground into flour and finally baked into bread.

Each of the other animals refuse to help, so the Little Red Hen eats it all herself.

"Who will help me plant the wheat?" asked the Little Red Hen.

"Not I", said the duck.

"Not I", said the cat.

"Not I", said the dog.

So the Little Red Hen planted the wheat herself.

These famous words can be written on chart paper for the children to read along with you. Use a pointer to help them track the flow of the words.

You can use cards printed with the names of other animals to replace or add to the story.

We brainstormed a list of all the other animals who the hen might have asked for help and add them to our chart.

sheep

cow

horse

pig

goat

How many others can you think of?

Original Tale of the Little Red Hen

The Story of the Little Red Hen

To the right you will find a video of the original tale of the little red hen and how she grows wheat to make bread for her chicks. She asks the other animals for help but they all say, "Not I", and so the Little Red Hen just does all the work herself.

  • In this story you will find lots of opportunities to teach beginning reading and writing skills. There is the short vowel e in the words hen, pen, and red, as well as the short vowel sound of e in the word bread.
  • There is the short vowel o in the word not which is repeated often throughout the story.
  • Because the word hen is used often you might teach the letter h. I find the children love practicing their letters if they are taught not only the print version but also the cursive version. Though cursive is not taught as often now, children love to learn it.

The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza

Tales of The Little Red Hen - Compare various Versions of The Little Red Hen

Which is your favorite version of The Little Red Hen? Make a comparison chart with the children. Do each of the books contain the same characters? If you wrote your own version, what other animals would you add?

At the end of the story, who eats the bread? Is it just The Little Red Hen or do her chicks eat it as well?

What does The Little Red Hen bake? In some versions she bakes bread. In others she might bake pizza.

Amusing version of The Little Red Hen

Disney's Little Red Hen

Way back in 1930, Disney made a version of The Little Red Hen.

  • After reading several versions of the story, make a Venn Diagram to show similarities and differences.
  • Make another graph showing which versions your children liked the best.
  • Then write your own version using the best parts from each.

Letters from The Little Red Hen

With Love, Little Red Hen
With Love, Little Red Hen | Source

The Little Red Hen Writes Letters

The Little Red Hen has moved into a new neighborhood. She asks for help from her new neighbors but continually is told "Not I". She is persistent in her desire to make friends while maintaining her friendship with past neighbors but keeping up a correspondence with her old friend, Hetty.

Children can learn about writing letters, friendship and helping others from this inventive tale.

  • Read the story to the children several times.
  • Discuss how difficult it can be to move to a new place where you need to make new friends while at the same time missing the friends you left behind.
  • Place writing paper and envelopes near a display of the book.
  • Include pens, pencils and maybe even a feather pen with ink well.
  • Children can write letters to The Little Red Hen and her chicks.
  • Older children might like to take the part of the Little Red Hen in order to answer the letters.

Science

Little Red Hen Unit Study

The Little Red Hen Grinds the Wheat - Wheat for the Little Red Hen

Gather your little chicks and carry the wheat over to the mill. Who will help? Will the cat, the dog or the duck? Who will help to grind the wheat into flour?

Growing Wheat Grass

Growing Wheat from Seed to Flour

Growing a whole field of wheat may be too much for your children but growing a small patch in a tray can be lots of fun and educational as well.

Fill the sensory table with potting soil

  • Add small hoe
  • Place a sack of wheat seeds and a watering can nearby
  • Allow the children to explore the center
  • Cover the table and leave it for several days

When you take off the cover you will find that most of the seeds have sprouted. Use this opportunity to show the children the parts of the plant or wheat seedlings. Then give them the opportunity to explore.


The Harvesters by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The Harvesters
The Harvesters | Source

How to Harvest Wheat by Hand

Small-Scale Wheat Harvest

If you have a bit more room, you might want to plant a small field of wheat. It would not be practical to use big machinery, so just like the Little Red Hen, you could use hand tools to harvest the wheat.

  • Use a sickle or a scythe to cut the wheat.
  • Gather the wheat into shocks to dry
  • Flail the wheat to separate the seeds from the straw
  • Winnow the wheat to take off the chaff

Many of these terms will be new to the children. Make a bulletin board depicting a scene where wheat is being harvested. You might include the hen or be more realistic by posting a farm family. Be sure to label the scene with the words children will need in order to write about the wheat harvest.

Plush Red Hen

Hansa Hen Plush, Brown
Hansa Hen Plush, Brown

A stuffed red hen is one of my children's favorite animals in the Dramatic Play area. She becomes The Little Red Hen as she asks for help in turning wheat seeds into bread but finds that with a bit of practice she can actually do the whole process by herself.

Hansa plushies were originally created for European collectors and are meticulously handcrafted from portraits of real animals in their natural habitat.

 

The Little Red Hen her Family - Hens, Roosters and Baby Chicks

Stuffed hens, roosters and baby chicks are ideal to add to the dramatic play area. These chickens by Hansa are constructed as realistic as possible. Children love to reenact the story of The Little Red Hen and other tales you have read to them about chickens.

A stuffed red hen is one of my children's favorite animals in the Dramatic Play area. She becomes The Little Red Hen as she asks for help in turning wheat seeds into bread but finds that with a bit of practice she can actually do the whole process by herself.

Hansa plushies were originally created for European collectors and are meticulously handcrafted from portraits of real animals in their natural habitat.

Little Red Hen's Chicken Coop

Little Red Hen lives in the chicken coop with her chicks, a couple of other hens and a rooster. You will also find a shock of wheat and nests for the hens to roost in.
Little Red Hen lives in the chicken coop with her chicks, a couple of other hens and a rooster. You will also find a shock of wheat and nests for the hens to roost in. | Source

Red Hen Dramatic Play and Writing Center

Set up a barnyard center where the children can act out the story of The Little Red Hen. Recreating the story, thinking of the actions of the various players, repeating the sequence of events are all important for children to learn as they begin to read and write. Plenty of hands-on creative time with interesting materials will lead to accomplished writers.

  • Place the chicken coop with hens, chicks and rooster on a table.
  • Allow two children to use the center at a time.
  • Include a stack of sequence cards, pencils and colored pencils to encourage the children to begin writing stories.

1860 Chicken Yard

The Farmyard, 1860
The Farmyard, 1860 | Source

A Home for the Little Red Hen

Chickens need a safe place to roost for the night to protect them from predators such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and weasels. To the right you will see a typical hen house from a farmyard in 1860.

Below you can go to a site depicting unique modern hen houses including the Cluck Bus, a school bus converted into a chicken coop.

In the Creation Station learning center, I provided lots of corrugated cardboard pieces cut into various geometric shapes. The children had a wonderful time creating their own chicken coops for the toy chickens we had in the Dramatic Play area. A couple of parents volunteered to help them hot glue the pieces together.

Music

Little Red Hen Unit Study

Sing about The Little Red Hen - Raffi sings about the Little Red Hen

Copy the lyrics to Down on Grandpa's Farm onto Chart Paper, laminate it, and then hang it on your easel. Point to the words as you sing along with the song.

Once the children have learned the words to the song, ask them to come up to the board and point to some of the vocabulary words such as:

little

red

hen

cluck

Another time the children might try to find all the color words in the song and then use dry erase markers to trace over the color words.

One Light One Sun

This album by Raffi includes the song "Down on Grandpa's Farm" with the verse:

Down on Grandpa's farm, there is a little red hen

Down on Grandpa's farm, there is a little red hen

The hen, she makes a sound like this, Cluck, Cluck, Cluck

The hen, she makes a sound like this, Cluck, Cluck, Cluck

Copy the words to the song onto poster board, laminate it, and hang it on an easel when you sing with the children. Us a pointer to help children follow along as you sing. Soon you will find that the children will begin to read the words on their own.

NOTE: You may find it best to put one verse per page in order to have the words large enough for all the children to be able to see.

After singing several times, you might ask the children if they can find the word chicken on the chart. You might also suggest the children use a word from the chart when doing independent Word Work activities.

Most Popular Version of The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen
The Little Red Hen | Source

Questions for The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen would like to answer any questions you may have about teaching with a Little Red Hen theme. She likes to keep her little chicks happily learning and would like to help you do so as well. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here for the Little Red Hen and she will get back to you as soon as possible.

Little Red Hen answers your questions - Thanks for reading this unit study about the Little Red Hen

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    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      5 years ago

      You are a great teacher, you always find funny stories, great graphics and accessories which will induce curiosity.

      This is a beautiful unit study. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      What a fun unit study! I always loved the story of the Little Red Hen when I was a girl.

    • profile image

      inkserotica 

      5 years ago

      Terrific Lens! Just wish that I could have learnt like this when I was little. It would have made lessons so much more fun!

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 

      5 years ago

      Great lens. I love this story. I had a copy from first grade that I shared with my children growing up. They all leaned to help in the kitchen.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 

      6 years ago

      So cute!! Nicely done-

    • profile image

      RobinDM 

      6 years ago

      Sweet unit study!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      6 years ago from Scotland

      What a wonderful unit to study! SquidAngels boarded a bus headed for New England!And I was passing by and loved the little red hen!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Nice lens! We'll be studying this book in our K-2 Literature class later in the fall. This may come in handy. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anilsaini 

      6 years ago

      nice lens

    • Becca Sanz profile image

      Becca Sanz 

      6 years ago

      The Little Red Hen is a great story for little kids.

    • Eevee LM profile image

      Eevee LM 

      6 years ago

      When I was little, I loved The Little Red Hen.

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