Grade K-2, 3-5

The Little Red Hen

Updated: January 14 2021,
Author: Abbejean Kehler

The Little Red Hen is a classic story for nearly all adults, and many children. Here it is retold and enhanced in order to provide a framework for illustrating and reviewing the concepts of productive resources and incentives. After reading the story, students will categorize resources into land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship and be able to identify what future incentives the dog, the cat and the mouse will have to help the little hen in her work. Students will have the opportunity to explore bread making.



Have you ever worked hard on a project and found that no one would help you? Then when you got it all done, suddenly everyone wanted to participate, or use your creation? You have something in common with a little Red Hen. Read the story and see if it’s like an experience you might have had, perhaps putting together a skate board ramp, building a fort, growing a pumpkin or carefully setting up your action figures.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and review productive resources (CELL) – capital, entrepreneurship, land and labor.
  • Sort and categorize items as capital, entrepreneurship, land or labor.
  • Describe future incentives for the dog, the cat and mouse.
  • View bread mixing.
  • Explore the ingredients for making a loaf of bread.
  • See equipment needed to make bread.
  • Watch a bakery making a pastry.

Resource List


In order to provide a context for your lesson on production and resources, first read The Little Red Hen (story) with your students. Keep in mind there will be several elements to identify in the story:

  • production – what are the steps in producing a loaf of bread
  • resources – what natural, human and capital resources are needed in the production process.bread

Once you and your students have read the story, here are several activities you may choose to use with your students:

  1. Production is carried out in a “sequence” or “steps.” What steps were involved with the production of the loaf of bread? Review the story by completing the Drag and Drop Activity [Story Order; Found the wheat seeds, Planted the seeds, Watered the garden, Pulled the weeds, Harvested the wheat, Went to the miller, Ground the wheat, Read the recipe, Mixed the ingredients, Baked the Bread, Ate the Bread]
  2. Recipe the students might review – have small groups of students read the recipe and make a list of the ingredients – point out that these are natural resources.
  3. Just for fun – challenge your students with: Oven Baked Bread – word search
  4. The use of a recipe typically involves fractions and other measurements. Here is an opportunity to have your students apply a bit of math review, click and print: Knead Math? Student Version Doubling fractions activity [Knead Math? Teacher Version]
  5. Have you ever seen bread being mixed? Watch Making Easy Bread with Fin to see a video clip of how to make a loaf of bread.
  6. There are still some mills around, take a look at these pictures at a working mill in Oklahoma,
  7. Go to the Beginners Kitchen. Be sure and scroll down, as you page through the site and you will find a great explanation of what is “dough.”
  8. Go to the Baking Ingredients site and look for the natural resources used in producing a loaf of bread.
  9. Go to the Baking Equipment site and look for all of the capital resources used in producing a loaf of bread – Tools (Capital) for Making Bread
  10. Go to Making Bread and identify the steps in producing a loaf of bread and see what procedures are required to get the perfect loaf (production process).


Most children do not have the opportunity to see or feel where an every day loaf of bread comes from or how it is made. The Little Red Hen not only helps to introduce the process, but gives the students an opportunity to reflect how they might feel if they did the work on a project or activity and others expected to benefit. Close the lesson by inquiring of the students how Meow, Bark and Squeak might behave in the future, and if there is an incentive for them to change their ways.

Extension Activity

Your students might choose to look at what yeast is and the science behind the “rising” of bread.

Visit “Why does bread rise?” site to learn about what makes bread rise and to try a simple experiment.


Using pictures or words have students create cards of the ingredients, tools and individuals involved in making bread. You should prepare at least 15-30 in total. Have students sort these into productive resources – human, natural, capital or entrepreneurial. Have each student write down their answers for review by the teacher or another student. Students may use the word search to help in identifying many of the terms used in this lesson.

You also might create matching sets of cards and have the students use them to play concentration. For example you have a picture of a mixing bowl and the word capital in order to create a match.