Number Sequence Puzzle

In this lesson, children will assemble a puzzle using number strips in the order of 1-10.

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

Learning Targets:

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

  • Using multiple models to develop initial understandings of place value and the base-ten number system
  • Developing understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections
  • Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties
  • Recognizing, describing and extending patterns such as sequences of sounds and shapes or simple numeric patterns and translating from one representation to another
  • Analyzing how both repeating and growing patterns are generated

Number Sequence Puzzle

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • 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.

  1. Poll the children. Ask: “Who likes to do puzzles?” Explain that today they are going to learn a new puzzle: a number sequence puzzle.
  2. 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.”
  3. Review sequence counting. Count together starting at 1 and going to the number 10.

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Give the children the 10 number strips and have them work on putting the strips into the correct sequence.
  2. The children can use the metal trays as a work surface.
  3. 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.

Additional Extensions

  • 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: Teach math 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.”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Have difficulty putting the numbers 1-10 in sequential order
Home 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
Preschoolers may:
  • Put the number strip in numerical order with ease
Home 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.

Suggested Books

  • 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. You can find free song lyrics and listen to melodies at www.kididdles.com.

Outdoor Connections

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.

Web Resources

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