To begin the lesson, call on several students to come to the front
of the room and make a line. As you call them, use an ordinal number to
name their place. For example, "Tom, you will be first. Susan, you will
be second." Invite students to the front until you have fill the first
through tenth positions. Then, dismiss those students, and repeat the
same process with a different group of 10 students.
Now display a train of 10 connecting cubes made with as many
different colors as possible. Indicate that the left-most cube is the
first cube in the train. As you randomly point to different cubes in
the train, call on students to name the position of the cube using
ordinal numbers (first, second, third, and so on).
Next, put the students into pairs and distribute 15 or more
connecting cubes to each student. Ask the students to sit back to back
and have one student in each pair make a train of 10 cubes, using as
many different colors as they can to make cars in the train. Then have
the student who made the train describe it to his or her partner so
that the partner can make an identical train. Then have the students
switch roles. (The goal of this activity is to ensure that students are
comfortable with ordinal numbers, as they will be used to describe
patterns. You may wish to review this concept with those students who
are not familiar with ordinal numbers.)
When students are ready, distribut the Pattern Templates
activity sheet, which has a strip of 10 spaces along the top. (This
sheet also has a flag pattern template, which will be used later.)
Ask students to circle the first square in black. Then have them
color the other squares according to directions that you give. For
example, "Color the third car red." When each square has been colored,
call on students to name the colors of the cars as you randomly say
ordinal numbers from 1st through 10th. You may wish to collect these
papers as a first entry in a unit portfolio.
Finally, call the students together to sing Old MacDonald (see Song Lyrics
for the words. Call on volunteers to indicate which animal will be
named first, second, and so on. For example, "Meg, what will be the
first animal? Peter, what will be the second animal?" To help students
remember the order, you may wish to list the animals on the blackboard.
- Collect students’ 10-color pattern strips to determine how well they were able to use ordinal numbers to follow your directions.
- Periodically assess students when they line up. (You may have
a girls’ line and a boys’ line to keep the ordinal positions low for
younger students.) Pass out an index card with an ordinal number to
each student. As you call their group or table, have students line up
on carpet squares or floor tiles according to the place written on
their index card.
Place items in a set of 5-6 small identical boxes (such as gelatin
boxes or film canisters) so that the boxes vary in weight. You may wish
to fill one box with pennies, another with popcorn, and others with
cotton, rice and cereal. Then ask the students to lift the boxes and
put them in order from heaviest to lightest. If you cover the boxes in
different colors, the students can record the ordering using cubes or
coloring squares on a strip of paper.
Questions for Students
1. What words did we use today that tell about order?
[We used first, second, third, ….]
2. How many cubes will come before the fifth cube in a train with 8 cubes?
[There will be four cubes before the fifth cube.]
3. What comes after the sixth place in line? (You may wish to ask this same question using other ordinal numbers.)
[After the sixth place is the seventh place.]
4. What comes before the fourth place? (You may wish to ask this same question using other ordinal numbers.)
[Before the fourth place is the third place.]
- Which ordinal values were students familiar with before the lesson began?
- Which students met all the objectives of this lesson? What extension activities would be appropriate for those students?
- Which students did not meet the objectives of this lesson? What instructional experiences do they need next?
- Were all students able to name ordinal positions in random order?
- Would I make any adjustments the next time I teach this lesson?