Grade K-2

The Right Job for ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’

Updated: March 10 2016,
Author: Mickey Ebert

The Tortoise and the Hare live in a very nice village. The animals of the village own different businesses and their specialization works very well. Daniel Hare is the very fast mail carrier and Mr. R.S. Tortoise is the slow, methodical inventor. Everyone benefits from their special strengths!


What a great community of workers there is in the story of the "Tortoise and the Hare!" A family of squirrels runs the marketplace, the family of pigs owns a bakery, and families of the dogs and cats own the local dairy. Mr. R.S. Tortoise (the R.S. stands for Real Slow) and Daniel Hare should respect each other’s attributes, but Mr. Hare thinks Mr. Tortoise is too slow. This classic story illustrates just how wonderful specialization is!

Learning Objectives

  • Relate the story of "The tortoise and the Hare" to specialized benefits.

Resource List

  • Access the version of the "Tortoise and the Hare" starring R.S. Tortoise and Daniel Hare here


Before the story, ask the students:

  • What kind of person would make a good storyteller? [A good story teller should speak clearly, loudly, and have a good story.]
  • What kind of person would make a good dentist? [A good dentist should like helping people, enjoy being around people, and should like looking in people's mouths.]
  • What kind of person would make a good school nurse? [A good school nurse should like kids, should be kind, should not get upset when kids get sick, etc.]
  • Would a good school nurse make a good race car driver? [Probably not because nurses and race car drivers have different skills and strengths.]

Listen to the computer read story,here"The Tortoise and The Hare."

Discuss Mr. R.S. Tortoise's strengths.

  • Did he have what it takes to be a good inventor?
  • Does an inventor have to be fast? [No.]
  • Does an inventor need to be thorough? [Yes.]
  • Does the community need Mr. Tortoise to be slow and thorough? [Yes, People in the community need inventions that work.]

Discuss Mr. Hare's strengths.

  • Did he have what it takes to be a good mail carrier? [Yes.]
  • Does it help if a mail carrier is fast? [Yes.]
  • Why? [He will get all the mail delivered on time.]
  • Does it benefit the entire community that Mr. Hare is fast? [Yes.]

Daniel Hare does not understand that we all work at our own rate of speed. His job calls for speed, but other jobs call for different strengths.

[NOTE: There are all sorts of cross-curricular lessons here. Certainly the lesson has something to say about bullying and making fun of someone who differ from others. The old point about "slow and steady wins the race" has a lesson for those who hurry through their work.]


Specialization benefits everyone when the skills and strengths of specialists match their job in a community. Keep in mind that when people do what they are good at and then trade their output with others who are doing what they are good at, we are better off than we would be if everyone tried to do everything for themselves. Think of the example of the barber–could we all cut our own hair? Sure, but if we go to the barber's to get our hair cut, then we don't have to sacrifice the time it takes to learn how to get good at cutting hair and we can spend this time doing something else. We get a haircut and what ever else we are producing with our time.

For a color page of the tortoise and the hare, click .

For a "The Tortoise and the Hare" word search, click here


Have the students brainstorm on what a community would be like if the community helpers’ jobs do NOT match their strengths. What if the vet was allergic to animals? What if the emergency room doctor fainted when he/she saw blood? What if teacher didn’t like children, but loved animals? What if the cafeteria workers burned every meal, but loved children? What if the car repair person couldn’t remember where parts went in a car, but was a good cook? What if the principal liked to sleep until noon? The possibilities are endless! The students also might draw pictures to show what they think a community would look like if many people were doing a job that did not take advantage of their strengths.