Step 1: Gather materials.
- A simple picture printed on card stock, laminated if possible (Cut into 10 equal strips, each with the numbers 1-10 on the bottom of the picture. Check out these teacher sites for an idea of what kinds of pictures you can use. Sometimes there are free downloads available. www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Car-Number-Sequence-Puzzle-671324
- Attach magnets to the backs of the number strips, putting one at the top and one at the bottom of each strip. Use metal trays for the children to use as a surface to put the puzzle pieces together on. This step is optional, but it can help the children keep their pieces in one place, while providing a framework that helps them organize their work.
Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.
Step 2: Introduce activity.
- Poll the children. Ask: “Who likes to do puzzles?” Explain that today they are going to learn a new puzzle: a number sequence puzzle.
- Explain the instructions of the puzzle. Say: “You are going to receive 10 strips with the numbers 1 through 10 on the bottom. Your job is to put those strips in order from 1 to 10 and, when you do, it will form a picture.”
- Review sequence counting. Count together starting at 1 and going to the number 10.
Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.
- Give the children the 10 number strips and have them work on putting the strips into the correct sequence.
- The children can use the metal trays as a work surface.
- Print and prepare multiple puzzles so that, when the children are done with one puzzle, they can work on another one. The children love to see the pictures they create by following the number sequence.
- While still cutting a picture into 10 strips, use a different number sequence. You can choose 30-40, even numbers starting with 2 and ending at 20 or skip counting by 5s starting at 5 and ending at 50. Any number sequence or counting pattern that you are working on can be applied to this puzzle.
- Instead of cutting 10 number strips, cut the picture into 3×3 squares. You can choose to put the numbers on the square or not. If you do choose to put the numbers on the square, place them in the bottom right-hand corner or on the back.
Step 4: Vocabulary.
- Sequence: An ordered set of numbers, shapes or other mathematical objects arranged according to a rule (e.g.,”The number 2 comes before the number 3 in our number sequence.”)
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- Have difficulty putting the numbers 1-10 in sequential order
Child care providers may:
- Cut a simple picture into five strips and label the strips 1-5
- Have the children work with a shorter, simpler number sequence
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
- Put the number strip in numerical order with ease
Child care providers may:
- While still cutting a picture into 10 strips, use a different number sequence. You can choose 30-40, even numbers starting with 2 and ending at 20 or skip counting by fives starting at five and ending at 50. Any number sequence or counting pattern that you are working on can be applied to this puzzle.
- Instead of cutting 10 number strips, cut the picture into 3″x3″ squares. You can choose to put the numbers on the square or not. If you do choose to put the numbers on the square, place them in the bottom right-hand corner or on the back.
- Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1995)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (London: Hamilton Hamish Children, 1994)
Music and Movement
- Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs that include counting such as: “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” “There Were Ten in the Bed,” “This Old Man,” “Five Little Ducks” and “The Ants Go Marching One by One.” This will give the children an opportunity to practice counting in a fun and playful manner.
Wagon Walk: Every day, place a different number on a small wagon. Let the children take turns, taking the wagon around the yard for a walk collecting items to put into the wagon. The object of the game is to place the same number of items in the wagon as the number on the wagon indicates. When the child has the correct number of items in the wagon, he/she can show you. Then ask the child to put the items back where they belong so that another child can have a turn.
- A wonderful game for ordering numbers and for number sequences (fantastic on an interactive whiteboard)
- Online counting games