This learning sequence assists students to recognise, read, represent and say whole numbers, learn that there is a sequence to numbers and a counting process that applies irrespective of language or culture, and develop skills in using and recording number sequences.
These activities focus on students saying, matching and/or recording numbers in order. Links to helpful resources which could be printed out and used in the classroom are provided below. Teachers and students are encouraged to develop new support materials as the students become familiar with the activities.
Activity 1: I'm here
This activity requires a large wall chart with the numbers from 1 up to the number of students in the class in the left-hand column, and space for student name tags to be attached in a column to the right of the numbers. The same chart can be used for a number of tasks as long as the numbers are not permanently attached.
Each student needs a name tag that can be attached to the chart.
Students sometimes take time to realise that counting objects is the same as counting the number of people. Some students can count saying the number words in the correct order, but may not realise that the final number in the count is the answer to the question: how many?
Teachers will need to assemble collections of items for counting. There should be one item per class member. Examples of collections include toys, blocks, coins, counters, and pictures generated by the students. When students become familiar with the activity they may be asked to suggest themes for the collections.
Teachers will also need a container for the items and an additional container for items to be moved to, and prepared line charts or grids. Classifications such as girl/boy, eye colour or birthday month can be used for the grids or line charts.
Teachers will also need individual number cards with the numbers from 1 to the number of students in the class that will be attached to the wall chart.
Activity 2: Recognising number representations
Teachers will need to create sets of number representations showing different representations of numbers from 1 to the number of students in the class. The representations could be a mixture of number names, numerals, tally marks, die faces, figurate numbers, ordinal numbers, number representations from different cultures and number names from different languages. Variations can be selected to reflect the different languages spoken by members of the class or the languages taught in the school.
A collection of card sets showing different representations of numbers from 1 to 6 allows the teacher to form up to six random groups of students for small group activities and can be worn by the students.
Activity 3: Getting to know numbers
This activity requires notice board space, poster paper for various displays, magazines, and equipment for cutting and pasting. Teachers will use Get to know three number representations and provide students with opportunities to explore number representations of other numbers.
Activity 4: Count along
Two of Everything is a humorous Chinese folk tale with a bit of wisdom, written by Lily Toy Hong and published by Albert Whitman & Company, Morton Grove, Illinois in 1993.
Other story books from a range of cultures and traditions feature counting. The story books used can be written in English or in a language that the students are learning or are familiar with. A list of story books is given below. Teachers can use the sets of counting items or number cards supplied, or develop sets to reflect the content of the stories being read.
The number recognition and recording activities allow the teacher to introduce, revisit and reinforce important numeracy concepts with students. Key concepts include a sense of number and numbers and their representations. Students develop an appreciation of the importance of numbers and counting through observation of the variety and frequency of their use in our daily lives. Looking at how numbers are written and said in other languages assists students to think about the shared concepts of number that transcend regional and cultural differences in the modern world.
Activities that reinforce number concepts are intended as a daily routine for the students. Most of the activities can be adapted to use an extended range of whole numbers to suit the needs and abilities of the class. Progressively students can take more responsibility for the selection of materials and the management of the activities, encouraging students to develop skills in working collaboratively and using a range of thinking processes.