Number Memory

In this lesson, children will match cards that display numbers with cards that display groups of objects that represent those numbers.

Math Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers
(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

Content Area:

Algebra
Numbers and Operations

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers and number systems
  • Understand patterns, relations and functions
  • Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Counting with understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
  • Developing understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections
  • Connecting number words and numerals to the quantities that they represent, using various physical models and representations
  • Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties
  • Using concrete, pictorial and verbal representations to develop an understanding of invented and
    conventional symbolic notations

Number Memory

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • 20 cards: Half the cards with numbers 1-10 and the other half with the corresponding pictorial representation (e.g., one card with the number 4 and the corresponding card with a picture of four objects). You can use colored notecards, but be careful that the children can’t see the numbers or pictures through the card.

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.

  1. Review numbers 1-10 and their corresponding pictorial representations. Ask: “Using dots, what would the number six look like?”
  2. Explain that today the children are going to play a game that matches numbers and their equivalent pictures. Not only do they have to make a match, they need to remember where the cards are located. The game is called “Memory.”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Model the game for the children. Lay out all of the cards in a four-by-five array, face down.
  2. Turn over one card and examine it. Let’s say you turn over a card that has the number 7. Ask the children what card you would need to turn over for a match. “A picture of seven objects.” Turn over another card. If it is a card that has the pictorial representation of 7, put both cards off to the side. Reinforce that both cards are a match and, therefore, they are a pair and can be taken out.
  3. If the second card you turn over is not the pictorial representation, explain to the children that, since the card does not match the 7 card, they need to put both cards back in their original spots. Remind the children that the name of game is “Memory” and they should remember what was on each card and where it is.
  4. Emphasize that they should also watch and remember the cards turned over during the other player’s turn. The game is over when all of the cards have been matched.

Additional Extensions

  • Change the deck of cards to include numerals and the number words. Instead of having cards with the pictorial representation, switch those for the written word of the number (e.g., one card with the number 4 on it and the matching card has the word “four” on it).

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Same: Identical in kind or quantity (e.g.,”Can you find the same card to make a match?”)
  • Different: Not similar in size, shape, color or other characteristic (e.g.,”That card is different from the card you turned over.”)
  • Match: To equal; to be equal to

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Have difficulty understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
  • Have difficulty connecting number words and numerals to the quantities that they represent
Home child care providers may:
  • Have the children play the game with like cards and less cards. Using just 10 cards—two cards with the same number—have the children play the game just matching the same numbers (e.g., a 4 card matches a 4 card). You can do the same with pictorial representation (e.g., a picture of four circles matches another card with the picture of four circles).
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Be easily able to connect number words and numerals to the quantities they represent
Home child care providers may:
  • Change the deck of cards to include numbers and the written number. Instead of having cards with the pictorial representation, switch those for the written word of the number (e.g., one card with the number 4 on it and the matching card with the word “four” on it).

Suggested Books

  • My Very First Book of Numbers by Eric Carle (New York: Philomel, 2006)
  • Rainbow Fish Counting by Marcus Pfister (New York: North-South Books, 2004)
  • From the Garden: A Counting Book about Growing Food by Michael Dahl (Mankato MN: Picture Window Books, 2004)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

Web Resources

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