Number game

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Name of Teacher: Nick Hall
Class/Grade/Language Level: 3rd grade and up, flexible
Textbook and specific lesson: Hi Friends 2 Lesson 6, or any numbers lesson
Goal: To get used to and be able to quickly hear and understand numbers
Preparation: N/A
Class time: ~50 minutes


This is a very flexible plan that revolves around a particular game. You can use it in as low a grade level as you want, but I would recommend 4th grade and above, maybe 3rd. You can use whatever set of numbers you want, from as simple as 1-20 up into the millions if you so choose. Times are flexible, and the game can take as much time as you need.

  • Start with introductions and a quick game for warmup, however you want to do it
  • Introduce the numbers you’ll be using in the lesson. Depending on the level of the class feel free to make it as challenging as you want. Use cards or write it on the board. Have them say the numbers and try to make sure they get the difference between certain numbers that sound alike. If they seem like they’re getting it really easily, increase the denominations. They pick up on the patterns pretty easily, so teaching hundreds is simple, and thousands if they master that, and so on. I ventured as high as the millions in one class and that was an appropriate level of challenge for them I think. Take your time getting them used to it. If it’s the first time on numbers I might play a game of karuta here or something to help them practice listening a little bit. This is in preparation for the Main Game
  • The bulk of this lesson is in the game. It’s very simple and I originally anticipated it not being popular, but my class got extremely into it. Divide the class up into as many teams as you need such that there are 4-5 kids per group. Have them each line up at a separate spot at the blackboard. If possible try to make it so that the kids can’t see what the others are writing. From there, the first kid in each line takes a piece of chalk, and the instructor reads out a number. The kids listen and try to write the number that they hear. You can give a time limit, and then check what the students wrote. Be sure to read out what each of them actually wrote so they can see where they’re wrong. They seem to get a big kick out of having the wrong answers read. Then the next person in line takes the chalk and it continues. Start it out easy, from 1-100. If they’re doing a good job with that, bump it into the hundreds. Into the thousands I think they do OK, but once you get to the 10 thousands they have to start mentally changing between Japanese and English number systems. One thing I observed is that they seem to do OK with larger numbers that have a number in each digit space (e.g.. 56,247) but they get really tricked if they have to put zeroes in somewhere (e.g. 51,002). This game is very flexible since you can adjust it on the spot based on how well they seem to understand. You can say multiple numbers at once and have them try to write them all or change it up however you wish. I’m still amazed at how excited they tended to get while playing this simple game.
  • Because the kids went so crazy this game tended to go all the way to the buzzer, but you can end early and do some review and reflection on the class and wrap it up.