Odd or Even

In this lesson, children will differentiate between odd and even numbers by sorting numbers 1-20 into "Odd" or "Even" circles.

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:

  • Counting with understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
  • Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties

Odd or Even

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • 20 manipulatives of any kind (counting bears work well)
  • A mat with two circles on it
  • A recording sheet with the numbers 1-20 (with a space next to each number so that the children can write their answers next to the numbers)

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. Introduce the concept of odd and even numbers. Even is a number that you land on when you count by twos. Count by twos up to 20 and explain that all of the numbers recited are even numbers. Explain that, when there are an even number of items, you and a friend can each have an equal amount of that item (you can pair things up).
    Demonstrate: Ask for two volunteers. Using an even number of manipluatives, give each child an item, counting as you hand out the items. Say: “I have four bears in my hand. I am going to give one bear to Sally and one bear to Billy and another bear to Sally and another bear to Billy. All of my bears are gone. How many bears did I have BEFORE I gave them to Sally and Billy?” (Four) “Do Sally and Billy each have an equal (the same) number of bears?” (Yes) “So is four an even number or an odd number?” (Even)
  2. Say: Odd numbers are the numbers that are not even. Any integer that CANNOT be divided exactly by two is an odd number. The last digit of an odd number will be 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9. Explain that, when you START with the number one and count by twos, the numbers that you land on are odd. Starting with the number one, count by twos. Explain that, when there are an odd number of items, you and a friend cannot have an equal amount of that item (you cannot pair them up). Demonstrate: Ask for two volunteers. Using an odd number of manipluatives, give each child an item. Counting as you hand out the items, say: “I have five bears in my hand. I am going to give one bear to Sally and one bear to Billy and one more bear to Sally and one more bear to Billy and one more bear to Sally. All of my bears are gone. How many bears did I have before I gave them to Sally and Billy? (5) Do Sally and Billy each have an equal number of bears? (No) Can we pair each of Sally’s bears with Billy’s bears? (No) So is the number five an even or an odd number?” (Even)

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Each child will receive 20 manipulatives, a sorting mat and a recording sheet with the numbers 1-20 on it.
  2. Explain that, just like the children sorted the bears into even and odd groups, now they will work individually to sort bears and figure out which of the following numbers are even and which of the numbers are odd.
  3. Explain the recording sheet. Say: “You are going to put your findings on the blank space next to each number. For example, we already know that four is a(n)_____________ number.” (Even)  “So you would write even next to the number 4.”
  4. To begin, have the children take the number of bears that are on the recording sheet. They will start with the number one and work their way through to number 20.
  5. When all of the children are done, gather them and go over their recording sheets. Use a sheet of chart paper to record their findings.

Additional Extensions

  • Use numbers higher than 20 and further explain that all numbers ending with 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are odd and all numbers ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 are even. Give the children big numbers like 456,391 and have them decide if the number is even or odd just by looking at the number in the ones place. Ask if they can determine even or odd by looking at the last integer (the number in the place furthest to the right).

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Odd: Number that is not divisible by two, such as numbers that end in 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 (e.g.,”The number 5 is an odd number.”)
  • Even: Number that is divisible by two, such as numbers that end in 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 (e.g.,”The number 6 is an even number.”)
  • Equal: To be the same in number or amount (e.g.,”Do Sally and Billy each have an equal number of bears?”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Still be working on one-to-one number correspondence
  • Have difficulty distinguishing between odd and even
Home child care providers may:
  • Use numbers 1-10. Count out the numbers being taken from the bucket and count while sorting each of the bears into the two circles
  • Tell the children before they start sorting the bears which numbers are even and which numbers are odd. That way, after they sort, they will be able to see what odd and even looks like.
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Have easily grasped the concept of even and odd and numbers being divisible by two
Home child care providers may:
  • Use numbers greater than 20 and further explain that all numbers ending with 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are odd and all numbers ending with 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 are even. Give the children big numbers like 456,391 and have them decide if the number is even or odd just by looking at the number in the ones place.

Suggested Books

  • One Odd Day by Doris Fisher (Pleasant, SC: Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006)
  • My Even Day by Doris Fisher (Pleasant, SC: Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006)
  • Splitting the Herd: A Corral of Odds and Evens by Trudy Harris (Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Pr Trade, 2008)

Music and Movement

  • This song reviews the concept of even numbers and teaches children that all even numbers can be “split in half.” Pause the video to ask the children if the examples are even or odd.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei19HMn1BxM

Outdoor Connections

Play any game (Hopscotch, Red Rover) and pause after every turn to decide whether the number you land on or the number of children in the group is an even or an odd amount.

Web Resources

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