Sharing a Plate of Cookies

K, 1, 2

This predictable and repetitive story, The Doorbell Rang, has a charming and surprising ending. The children must share a plate of cookies with a growing number of neighbors, but what do they do when there are more kids than cookies? They might surprise you! 

PrintOne Thirty-Minute Session
  • problem solve to share a limited amount of resources, fairly and generously
  • read-aloud copy of the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
  • 12 manipulatives for each child, such as blocks or counting chips
  • package of store-bought cookies (one cookie per child)
  • Optional: cookie recipe, ingredients, and supplies
Teacher Preparation 

For younger children, it may be helpful to have sorting mats. See handout. 


Hutchins, Pat. The Doorbell Rang. Mulberry Books (Paperback), 1989.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Say, "Raise your hand if you like to share. When did you share something that you really wanted all to yourself? What did it feel like? How did the other person feel?” 

    Show the package of cookies and ask the children how many cookies are needed for each child to have one cookie. Then ask, "What would we do if we had fewer cookies than that?" What do we do if there isn't enough to go around? Discuss their problem solving responses. This may include some math concepts and ideas about sharing, fairness, and generosity. Read the number of cookies from the package details and discuss how they could be shared fairly. Discuss what could be done with the extras, if there are any. They might propose sharing with someone else, which is generous in thought.  

  2. Hold up the cover of the book The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins. Activate prior knowledge by asking children to describe what they see. Read the book one time through and discuss.

    Before reading a second time, give each child a sorting mat and 12 manipulatives. This is the total number of cookies. As you read, have them divide the manipulatives evenly among two, three, four, six, and 12 children. 

  3. During rereadings have the children join in with the repetitive phrases. Use tally marks on the board as children ring the doorbell and join the story. Teach them about using tally marks and practice counting by fives.

  4. Open the package of store-bought cookies and follow the children's suggestions on how to share them fairly. While you all eat the cookies, talk about sharing and donating the leftovers. Talk about what can be shared other than "things." This could be kind thoughts or words, time with someone, or gifts of talent (a song, poem, or painting). 

  5. Discuss organizations in the community that provide food to families in the community who need it. Talk about the causes of people not having enough food and how nonprofit organizations make a difference. If a child suggests organizing a donation, start a conversation about finding out more about who helps and what is needed. Maybe you can invite a representative from a local nonprofit to speak about the need, their work, and what kids can do.

  6. Science extension: Gather the ingredients for making cookies and share the written recipe for all to follow. Have children help you sort ingredients to use for cookies into dry and wet ingredients. Read the recipe together and allow the children to identify the measuring utensils. Measure the ingredients and take turns mixing. Discuss states of matter before each step and at conclusion of baking.


Exit Ticket: Tell me one thing you can share to brighten someone's day. It may be a thing or something that takes your time or attitude.  

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.13 Describe limited resources and scarcity.