What Are Numbers? - Introducing 0

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Students will be able to use objects and pictures to name and write the number zero.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea that there is a number that represents nothing. They sing about Zero, My Hero and count how many crazy things are in the room like elephants and flying pigs!

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day on the SMART Board and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Draw a line to connect each bird to a worm.  Which group has more?'"  I say, "This problem has two parts.  What is the first thing it asks us to do?"  (Draw a line to connect each bird to a worm.)  I have a student come up and draw the lines.  "Listen to the directions again.  'Draw a line to connect each bird to a worm.  Which group has more?'  What do we need to do next?"  (Find which group has more.)  I tell students that the question asked us to draw lines first because that is a way to help us figure out which group has more.  I have students stand up and move to two different sides of the room based on which group they think has more.  I then have the groups explain why they think so.  I have the students in the group that picked the birds convince any student in the other group why the bird group is correct.

If you don't have a SMARTBoard, you can use the pdf copy of the slides in a variety of ways to reproduce this activity.

I tell students, "Today we will be learning about a very special number that we call zero." 

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I start this lesson by showing this video on the SMARTBoard.  This song sings about some concepts that are beyond what we are learning about, but the students enjoy listening to it and seeing all of the zeros.

When the song is over, I tell students that we will be learning about the number zero.  I show the SMARTNotebook File which I also titled My Hero, Zero.  I show slide 1 and remind students what a zero looks like.  I show slide two and model how to write the number zero.  I show slide 3 and have six students come up and practice writing the number zero.  I show slide 4 and ask, "How many elephants are in our room?"  I have a student come up and circle the correct answer. I repeat this with slides 5 and 6.

I tell students that we will be practicing this on a Number 0 Worksheet.  I show students the paper and say, "We will be working on this paper together.  You need to get out your pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  

I hand each student a paper for them to take back to their seats and while the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMARTBoard.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "The directions on this paper say ‘Count the cookies.  Circle the number.'  Put your pencil point on the first plate of cookies.  How many cookies are on this plate?"  I call on a student who is raising a quiet hand.  I have the student come up and point to each cookie as they count aloud.  I then ask, "How many cookies are on the plate?"  I ask that follow up question because not all students are making the connection between the last number they say and the total number of objects they counted.  I have the student circle that number. I continue this with the other plates of cookies.  I then tell students, "The directions at the bottom of the page say, 'Count the objects and write the number.'" When they are finished, they put their papers into the paper tray in the front of the classroom and get their center.


20 minutes

Since the students finish their papers at different times, I circulate through the room to make sure that student are completing their papers, putting it in the tray and getting their centers.  This week's centers are:

Play Dough Numbers  (K-5mathteachingresources.com)

Pattern Block Count, Lego Count, and Counting Bear (K-5mathteachingresources.com)

Roll and Count (Makinglearningfun.com) 
Number Tracing (I purchased mine, free ones are also available from WorkSheetFun
SMART Board- Online Game Scrambled Egg City (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)

I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers.  The first group is comprised of the students who were having trouble identifying numbers 0-5 and matching the numbers to objects.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using flash cards and manipulatives.  I show the flash cards and have students practice identifying the numbers.  I then give each student a pile of manipulative (0-5) and have them pick the number card that matches their group.  The next two groups do a follow up activity that reviews identifying numbers, counting objects and writing numbers.  I use the flash cards and manipulatives with these groups as well, but I also use individual white boards and dry erase markers.  I start by showing the students flash cards again and having them practice identifying the numbers.  I do this much quicker for these groups.  I then give each student a pile of manipulatives (0-5) and have them write the number on their board.  Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean

There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too.

Students clean up and return to their seats.


5 minutes

I close this lesson by inviting students back up to the carpet.  I turn on the projector and document camera and let one of the students who worked with me at the small group table in one of the review groups share his work on the screen.  The students like getting to "Be the teacher" and other students like seeing their classmates' work being projected on the SMARTBoard.  I mention positive things that I noticed during centers.  I also include something that needs to be better next time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we learned about the number 0.  What is there 0 of in this classroom?  (Answers will vary.)  "How do you know?" (There are not any of them in the classroom.)  "Tomorrow, we are going to continue to practice our numbers 0 to 5.”