Nine in the Sky! Exploring the Number Nine

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Students will be able to identify the number nine, identify groups with nine objects and represent the number nine.

Big Idea

Many kindergarteners come to school with rote counting skills, but they often do not understand that the numbers they can recite actually represent quantities. This lesson helps to make that connection.


10 minutes

You will need to print a copy of the classroom book, Nine in the Sky, that is included with this lesson.  I prefer to use a color printer and laminate the book for durability.  I then bind it with a plastic comb, but staples and rings would also work.

I gather the students in our reading corner, around my “big chair”.  I hold up the book and read the title to the students.  I ask them some questions prior to reading the book to help them make connections to the text.

To help the students make a connection with the story that we are going to read, I talk with them a bit.  I keep the cover of the book hidden from the students and I ask them this question, Have you ever looked up at the clouds in the sky and they looked like things?  I know I have looked up in the sky and I have seen a flower, a horse, a dinosaur, all different kinds of things.  Show me your connection sign (both thumbs and middle fingers hooked together) if you have ever looked up in the sky and saw things in the clouds.  The students then hold their linked fingers in the air.

Now I want you to look and tell me if you see anything in the clouds on the cover of my book.  Don't be a volcano, don't shout it out.  Let's let everyone look and then I will give you all a chance to tell me what it is that you see in the clouds.

I hold the book in the air and count to three.  The students yell out...nine!

I read the first page for them, "Look in the sky and you will see nine."  I then read the next page.   "Do you see nine planes?"  I want you to help me count the planes, ready...1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9.   I very intentionally point to each plane to model the way I want them to count.   After we count the planes.  We then continue on with the next page in the same fashion, making sure to point and have the students join me in counting.

When we get to the last page, we talk about why the pig might be frustrated.  I also ask the students, Should it be bedtime?  How do you know?

After we are done reading the story, we move over to the SMARTBoard to learn more about the number 9.


15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMARTBoard.  If you have a SMARTBoard, the Number Nine Notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.

I gather my students in front of the SMARTBoard.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the SMARTBoard.

I open the first slide (SMARTBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques. I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can find the number nine, count nine items, write the number nine and make a group with nine.

Language Objective
I can use the number nine to tell a friend how many items are in a group.

I then continue with the slides.

Slide Two:  This is the number 9.

Slide Three: When I count, nine is after the number eight.  I then count to nine pointing to the numbers on the Smartboard slide.  I repeat, having the students count with me.

Slide Four:  There are nine kites.  I can count them.  I touch each one.   I then demonstrate for the students how I can count .  I touch each item once and and I say , “One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine”.  This step helps students develop “one to one correspondence”. 

Slide Five:  I explain to the students, There are some groups of airplanes.  I want to find the groups that have nine.  If you are called up, I want you to show the class how we count by touching each plane.  We can check our answers by erasing.

I have the students touch and say one-two-thee-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine when counting.  If students need help with this step I will gently take their hand and guide them through the process.  I call students up using my “picking cards”. After counting, the students will erase in the circle to show the number of objects.

After the students identify the slides with nine, I ask them how many objects are in the other groups.  I have them come to the board and demonstrate counting the objects.  The remaining objects have seven and eight objects each to review those numbers

Slide Six and Seven:  Now the students get the opportunity to practice making groups of nine.  I say to them: This time of year we might see groups of birds in the sky.  Do you know what they are doing?  That's right, they are flying south because our weather is getting colder.  I need you to help put some birds in the sky.  We need to put nine birds in the sky.

The students use their finger to drag one bird at a time into the sky (using the smooth part of your fingernail works well for students to move the objects.  If that is too difficult, students can use a tennis ball to drag the items on the Smartboard).  Make sure that students count aloud as they are moving the birds.  Repeat with the next slide putting stars in the sky.

Slide Eight: I use this slide to demonstrate how to make the number nine.  I stress the importance of starting the number at the top where the green or “go” circle is.  I show how to make the number, saying to the students,  Start at the green dot. Curve around hitting the center line, then make a circle.  Close it up and then make a straight line down stopping at the bottom line.

Slide Nine:  Now it's time to do Turn and Talk to build oral language skills.  Students get with their assigned Turn and Talk Partners.   I tell the students, Now, turn to a friend and tell them how many balloons there are.

After the students have had a chance to talk, I ask the students to raise a hand if they know how many presents there are.  This might trick the students...they will probably say nine without counting.  There are eight.  I  did this to make sure they were actually counting the objects.  When I get a correct answer, to expand their language skills I have them repeat the answer in a complete sentence.  I say, You are right.  There are eight balloons.  I want everyone to say, "There are eight balloons."  

I go to the next slide.  Now, how many clouds are there? I repeat the above process, giving the students Turn and Talk time.  I call on a student and then have the entire class repeat, "There are nine clouds."  

We then move from the SMARTBoard back to our tables. 

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, the Nine In The Sky Student Book is needed. The file can be duplicated and stapled on the side.  After duplicating, the stapled packet can be cut down the middle to make two student booklets.

After the students are seated, I distribute the Nine in the Sky student booklet.  I instruct the students to put their name on the front cover and set their pencil down.

The students and I read the cover together, Nine in the Sky.  I have the students trace the number nine on the cover with their fingers.  We then turn to the first page.  I read to the students, Look at the sky and you will see nine.  To help build language, I ask the students if they know what the boy is using.  I help them come up with the word telescope.  We talk about what a telescope would be used for.  We then turn the page. I invite the children to read with me.  Together we read, Do you see 9 planes in the sky?  We count them together. I say, make sure you say one number for each touch.  Ready, touch…one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine!

I then invite the students to pick up their pencils and write the number nine, tracing over the lines provided. I remind them to start the number at the top.  When they are done, I have them put their pencil down and turn the page. We continue reading and filling in the numbers together.  The next to last page does not have guidelines to encourage the students to write the numbers independently.  On the last page, we count the stars in the

When we are done, the students are instructed to put the booklet on their name tags on their table.  After independent practice they will get a chance to color in the book.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

 A copy of the Nine Stars Activity Sheet is needed for each student. To complete the sheet, the students will each need 18 stars.  I get packages of inexpensive foil stars at the local dollar store and cut the sheets of stars into groups of eighteen.  It is important that the students do not get two groups of nine.  They need to count the stars out to show that they understand how to represent the number nine. 


I distribute a copy of the activity to each student.  I have them put their name at the top and set their pencils down. I then explain to the students, our activity sheet has two windows.  We are going to put nine stars in each window. 


I demonstrate for the students how to put the stars in a window.  I count as I place each star.  I then show them how I double check my work by counting, touching each star with my fingers as I count.  


I then say, after you are done putting stars in the window you will be writing the number nine.  Trace over each nine that is on the sheet, remembering to start at the top (I demonstrate for the students on my sheet).  You will need to write 3 more nines after you trace.I give each student a partner.  Their partner will check their work before they bring it up to me to assess.  I want to put more ownership for learning on the students. 


The students begin working.  See video.  After their partner has checked their work, they bring it to me.  I make sure to have them count the number of stars  for me so I can assess whether they are saying one number for each touch and touching each star only once. After I have assessed their work, they are given time to color in their student book.  I encourage them to take the book home and read it with their parents.


Included in this lesson is the Number Nine Dauber Review activity for students who need additional practice. Students can practice identifying, representing and writing the number 9 with this sheet.