Introducing Equal Groups

Equal Groups for Early Multiplication

This collection of resources can help you implement a lesson, or series of lessons, to support an understanding of the concept of equal groups, most particularly the language - ‘groups of’ which can commonly be an area of difficulty.
We suggest reading There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, by Hazel Edwards to ignite your learning sequence.

Remind students that Hippo loves to eat cake and suggest that they may have eaten cake at a party too. Today we will play a party game and feed Hippo all sorts of party food. Students may like to suggest what they like to eat at a celebration and you can incorporate these by drawing them onto the blank plates.

Equal Groups for Early Multiplication

Auditory Memory Game

Use a hippopotamus puppet (or make a craft paper puppet from the template in this file) and tell students that they will help feed him party food. Show them the plates of party food. Identify them clearly ‘this is a plate of chips’ etc. 

Use only one plate of strawberries to start.

Tell them this is a listening and memory game and that they will need to pay close attention to your description of what to feed Hippo.

Give a verbal description and have one student retrieve the plates and ‘feed them’ to Hippo in the correct order..

  • Please feed Hippo a plate of cookies, then a plate of cake.
  • Please feed Hippo a plate of candy, a plate of strawberries then a plate of corn chips.
The chosen child takes the plate from the play-area, brings them to Hippo (your puppet) and pretends to feed him in the correct order. Return plates to the table for the next turn.

Equal Groups for Early Multiplication

Equal Groups Game

Repeat the same game, but tell students you are adding more strawberries to the party table as Hippo loves that they are healthy. With this game you will reinforce the language ‘plates of’ and gradually replace it with ‘groups of’ as student
understanding and participation becomes more confident.

  • Please feed Hippo one plate of candy and one plate of 2 strawberries.
  • Please feed Hippo one pate of lollipops and 2 plates of 3 strawberries.
  • Please feed Hippo 2 plates of 3 strawberries.
  • Please feed Hippo 3 groups of 2 strawberries.
  • Please feed Hippo 2 groups of 2 strawberries.
Do not worry so much about counting or finding totals, just lots of fun with ‘groups of’, math language and checking for understanding. Use slow, deliberate, careful language so students have time for language
Kindergarten Math Equal Groups


To extend learning and encourage more formal multiplication (repeated addition to find the total) use our worksheet after playing the game!

  1. play the game once more with just the plate of strawberries
  2. encourage students to identify the total of each ‘feed’
  3. consolidate understanding with the worksheet

Kindergarten Math Equal Groups

This pack of resources will support your introduction to equal groups and we know for sure that your little learners will LOVE them! Find this pack over in our TPT store.

Kindergarten Math Equal Groups