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20 October 2014
Schools  >> All subjects for ages 4 - 11 years
Number Time
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Key Objective: Recognise numerals 1 to 9


Start the lesson by counting in unison to ten.

Say the traditional number rhyme Ten Little Monkeys. Encourage children to join in with finger actions, holding up the correct number of bouncing 'monkeys' in each verse. Stop the song between each verse to ask:

'How many monkeys left?'
This will reinforce the forward sequence of counting words.
Ten little monkeys bouncing on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mummy phoned the doctor, and the doctor said
'No more monkeys bouncing on the bed!'

Introduce a large set of numeral cards from 1 to 9, and distribute them amongst the group. At the end of each verse as you ask the question:

'How many left?'
Ask the child holding the relevant numeral card to hold it up. Explain to the children that they are going to practise recognising and writing numbers.

Invite the children holding the numeral cards to stand at the front of the class in random order. Ask the class:

'Who is holding number one?'
As the relevant child is identified s/he stands to the left of the group. Then ask:
'Who is holding number two?'
The game continues until the children holding numeral cards are all standing in correct order from left to right.

Collect in the cards and shuffle them. Explain to the class that you are going to hold up the cards one at a time. As you hold up the cards encourage children to identify the number. Reinforce the number name and ask a volunteer to come to the front to show how the number is written on a whiteboard. Invite the rest of the class to draw the numeral in the air or on the carpet.

Talk through the activities which different groups of children are going to carry out.

Group Activities

Activity 1 - children working independently
Play the Numbertime website game,'Find the Number with Bill and Bernie' to consolidate number recognition and matching.

Activity 2 - children working with some adult support
Complete Numbertime website 'Print and Do' Sheet; Writing Numbers.

Activity 3 - children working with teacher

Prepare a set of 'action cards' depicting a selection of activities which will illustrate counting. Examples might include:

  • beads on a thread
  • wooden blocks in a tower
  • farm animals in a row
  • toy cars in a traffic jam
  • linking toys in a chain etc.

You will also need a set of numeral cards 1 to 9. Children take turns to select an activity card and a number card, and then illustrate the number through the activity e.g. by threading the given number of beads.

Children then write their own numeral card to label their finished product which is put on temporary display in the classroom. More permanent records can be made, if desired, by drawing the activity and writing the number beneath.


Remind the children that they have all been recognising numbers, and some people have been writing them too. Invite each group to briefly explain what they have been doing to the rest of the class, showing samples of their work.

Hold up the number cards 1 to 9 in random order. As the children to identify the number and then a to perform an action that number of times.

Can you clap 9 times?
Can you tap your head 7 times?

Finish with a final sing through of the Ten Little Monkeys Song.

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