Painted Rock

In this lesson, children will use rocks numbered from one to 10 to practice sequencing skills.

Math Lesson for:

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

Content Area:

Algebra

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

Painted Rock

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Flat rocks (There should be enough so that children have a set of five rocks, possibly 10 rocks)
  • Paint and paintbrushes (You can paint and number the rocks beforehand, but it makes for a fun activity to have the children paint the rocks themselves.)

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 the sequence of numbers 1-10. When the children count from 1 to 10, ask questions such as: “What number comes after five? What number comes before seven?”
  2. Explain that today the children are going to put their painted rocks in numerical order. Say: “We will start with rock number one and then put the rocks in order until we end with rock number 10.” (Use five rocks for the younger children.)

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Give the children their sets of rocks. Explain that they will begin with rock number one and place each rock side by side to form a line of rocks.

Additional Extensions

  • You can make a memory game out of the rocks. Turn all of the rocks over with the numbers face down. The object of the game is to remember where each number is and then put the rocks in numerical order. For example, if the child is looking for number four and turns over number six, the child needs to turn over that rock and continue to turn over rocks until he/she finds the number four. It can also be turned into a game between two players.
  • The children can put the rocks in descending order, starting with the number 10 and working down to number one.

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Numerical order: A number sequence by arranging numbers in ascending order (e.g.,“We will put the rocks in numerical order starting with number one and ending at number 10.”)
  • Before: In front of (e.g.,“What number comes before the number three?”)
  • After: Following, behind (e.g.,“What number come after the number three?”)

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Still be working with numbers 1-5
  • Still be working on number sequencing and counting to 10 in numerical order
Home child care providers may:
  • Use five rocks when working on numerical order
  • Provide a number line with numbers 1-10 so that the children can match up the numbers on the rock to the numbers on the number line
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Easily count to 10
Home child care providers may:
  • Make a memory game out of the rocks. Turn all of the rocks over with the numbers face down. The object of the game is to remember where each number is and then put the rocks in numerical order. For example, if the child is looking for the number four and turns over the number six, the child needs to turn over that rock and continue to turn over rocks until he/she finds the number four. It can also be turned into a game between two players.
  • The children can put the rocks in descending order, starting with the number 10 and working down to number one.

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 your child 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

Outside on the pavement, use chalk to draw a number line with the numbers 1-10. Have the children line up on the number line: One child on the number 1, two children on the number 2 and so forth. If you do not have enough children to do this, have the children use objects: One jump rope on the number 1, two trucks on the number 2 and so forth.

Web Resources

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