The Wheels on the Bus

Click the image for a large jpg or pdf

Some learning points (impossible to list them all!)
  • Vocabulary development​
  • Sentence structure – encourage the use of the sentence stem ‘I see ……’​
  • Thinking skills (EG The first time a child may say ‘I see numbers’ but on subsequent occasions may decide to say ‘I see number 1/ I see number 2 etc or ‘I see odd numbers / I see even numbers))​
  • Observation, attention to detail​
  • Turn taking​
  • Patterning ​
  • Listening skills (as you listen to each other and then the whole group retell what they saw)​
  • Memory (as you recall what has been said so as not to repeat)​

Look carefully at the poster

  • Can you see these items? How many of each can you see?
  • Bus
  • Boy
  • Flower
  • Girl
  • Road sign
  • Cloud
  • Tree
  • Red flower
  • Yellow flower
  • Number
  • Wheelchair
  • Bus driver
  • Bus passenger
  • Bench
  1. Children are practising their counting skills here. For beginners, it may be helpful to place the poster on a table and have the child place a small counter on each item (eg red flower) he counts. This helps keep track of which items he has already counted. 
  2. Working in pairs, children can ask each other ‘How many ____ can you see? Encourage children to use the full question rather than simply name the item.



Numbers and Numerals

(Although technically we are talking about numerals here, children tend to use the term number, so that is what we have used in the suggestions)

Look carefully at the poster

  • Can you see any numbers on the poster?  Where?
  • What numbers can you see?
  • There are some numbers printed in black. What are they? What do they tell us?
  • There are some numbers printed in green. What are they? Do you notice anything about the green numbers?
  • There are some numbers printed in red. What are they?
  • Find the odd numbers.
  • Find the even numbers.
  • Show me the number that comes before 5. What is it?
  • Show me the number that comes after 7. What is it?
  • Show me the number that comes between 3 and 5. What is it?
  • Show me the number that is 2 less than 8. What is it?
  • Show me the number that is 3 more than 6. What is it?

– After a number of the previous type of question has been asked and responded to by the children, challenge them to ask the question, as in, for example, ‘The answer is 5. Ask me the question.’ After several sessions of oral activity, children could be asked to write one question each, perhaps as the culmination of a session. Later the teacher can type the questions on cards, which can be placed on the shelf for independent or partner practice.

  1. Can the child distinguish between numbers and letters?
  2. Does the child understand the concept of odd and even numbers? If not, omit these type of question until the concept has been re-introduced and practised. 
  3. Some of these questions can be responded to by all children by using ‘show-me boards’.
Spatial Awareness – Positional Language

Look carefully at the poster

  • What can you see behind the bus shelter?
  • What can you see in front of the bus?
  • How many passengers are in the bus?
  • How many passengers are on the bottom floor of the bus? Describe them.
  • Describe the passenger at the back of the bus.
  • What is written on the front of the bus?
  • How many passengers are on the bottom floor of the bus?
  • Where is the Stop sign?
  • How many people are in the bus?
  • If the boy in the wheelchair looks in the wing mirror of the bus, what can he see?
  • What can you see on the right of the poster?
  • What can you see on the left of the poster?
  1. Some children will be able to visualise the scene, others will see the picture. Some children will say the boy in the wheelchair is beside the bus, others will say ‘In front of’. Accept either.  
  2. Ask children to recreate the scene using toys. (Aistear) As they play with the scene they will reinforce their spatial awareness and use of the relevant vocabulary.  
  3. Introduce and reinforce the terms beside/next to/behind/in front of/under/over/in the middle/between by modelling.
Construction/ Art and Craft / Creativity

Can you construct this scene at home or at school?  

It does not need to be exactly the same but it should have the main elements. Perhaps you have ideas of things that can be added.

Work by yourself or with a friend or group.

What will you use as the background?

What can you use to make a bus? Can you put a driver and passengers in the bus? (Maybe/maybe not, depending on what you decide to use)

How will you make flowers? Will all your flowers look the same, or will they be different? 

How will you build a bus shelter? 

Do you have any people figures, or will you make them?


Children develop their spatial awareness and thinking skills as they think and talk about how and where to place the items.  As they build they will need to consider relative sizes of elements in their scene, leading to thinking and talking about measures – bigger/smaller, taller/shorter, longer/shorter etc 

Why not take a photo of your creation and send it to us at 

Can you tell a story about the people in your scene?

Number stories

How many passengers are on the bus?

If you have them, use your ten frames and counters to show how many passengers are upstairs and how many passengers are downstairs.  

Use your counters to help you solve these problems.

Then work with a partner to make up question for each other to answer.

  1. The bus leaves the depot with 3 passengers on board.  At the first stop 2 men get on. At the second stop 4 boys get on. How many passengers are on the bus now?
  2. There are 10 passengers on the bus. 3 get off. How many passengers are left on the bus.
  3. Three passengers are on the bus. 5 men get on at the first stop.  At the next stop  2 men get off and 1 lady gets on.  How many people are on the bus now?​​
  1. It would be useful to have 2 ten frames and 20 counters available for this activity.
  2. Note whether the children include the driver in the total number.  If the question asks about people, the driver should be included. If the question is about passengers, the driver should not be included. 
  3. Depending on the level of your class, or the groups within the class, include addition, subtraction or both in each problem. ​​
Art – drawing perspective

Look carefully at the poster. 

There are lots of trees in the picture.  Some look bigger and some look smaller. Are the trees at the back really so much smaller? Or do they look smaller because they are far away. 


In the poster the trees look taller or shorter. We can use this to introduce the concept of perspective  in drawings.  We do not expect children to draw items in perspective in their drawings as yet but they can be introduced to the concept.