Numbers to 10 Math Centers

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Students will be able to independently practice identifying and writing the numbers to ten.

Big Idea

In order to pull small groups during math instruction, the rest of the students need engaging activities that they can complete independently. These centers allow students to practice identifying, writing and counting numbers to ten.

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 SMARTBoard and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Count the animals. Match the numerals to the correct group.'"  I say, "This problem has two parts.  What is the first thing it asks us to do?"  Count the animals.  I have a students come up with a pointer and count the dog, rabbits, mice, pigs and frogs.  "Listen to the direction again.  'Count the animals.  Match the numerals to the correct group.'  What do we need to do next?"  Match the numerals to the correct group.  I call up students to do each one.  The problem is set so that if the student makes a mistake, the numeral will bounce back to its spot. 

If you don't have a SMARTBoard, the slides are included here as a pdf, and can be used instead in a variety of ways.

I tell students, "Today we will be learning how to do new math centers.  All of our centers  this week will be about numbers 1 through 10.  You will learn how to do all of the centers today and you will get a chance to work with your group on one of them."

Introducing Centers

25 minutes

I use math centers in my classroom as a way to reinforce the skills that are being taught.  The math centers give students are chance to work independently or with their peers to complete a task.  The students are not just learning and practicing number skills, they are also working on social skills including taking turns, sharing, and working cooperatively.  Having students working in centers also allows me time to pull small groups of student to my table to work on skills specific to their needs.

I ask students, "What have we been doing when we finish a math paper each day?"  Answers could include: Put it in the basket, do our center, etc.  "When we finish our math papers this week, we are still going to clean up, put them in the basket, and get a math center, but this week there will be new centers to work on and they are in a new place!"  I have the students turn and face the back of the classroom where our math centers used to be stored.  "This is where our math centers used to be stored.  We know that some of our friends have had trouble leaving them alone during the day, so I have moved them into draws like our literacy centers.  You will still get the center that matches your table number.  When you are finished, you will return your center to the draw instead of sitting it on the table."

I have the students move into a circle.  I remind students to sit on the hard floor so that there is space for everyone.  I bring up all of the center trays.  I explain and model how to complete each center.  This week's centers are:

Blocks with Numbered People (Use classroom materials- The wooden people I am using are discontinued, but any blocks and toy people can be used.)
Geoboard Numbers (
Car Number Tracing (
Pumpkin Patch Counting (Teacher Made)
Computer/LeapPads (

Each center is explained in the video located in the next section.

Explanation of Centers

The set up and management of centers in general, as well as these specific centers, are described in these videos:

New Center Setup Overview

Blocks and Numbered People Center
Geoboard Numbers Center
Car Number Tracing Center
Pumpkin Patch Counting


20 minutes

Once I have introduced all of the centers, I have the students go back to their seats.  I remind students of our center rules.  Students need to work quietly and stay at their seats.  Materials need to remain on the table and be cleaned up quickly and quietly when the clean up song comes on.  I call up one student from each table to come back and get their center.  I circulate through the room to make sure that all of the centers are being done correctly.  We have been doing centers for a while now, so I do feel I can leave the students working for awhile while I pull groups.  I wait until all of the students are started and ensure that there are not any questions.  

I only pull two groups, for 5 minutes each, today because I am extending clean up time today due to our new center format.  We do a very quick practice with flashcards for the number 0 to 5 and practice writing them on white boards.  

After about 10 minutes, I count down from 5 and say "Freeze."  When I say this, all students stop what they are doing, put their hands on their heads and look at me.  This is a procedure that we use throughout the day.  I say to students, "You have about five minutes left.  Remember when the clean up song comes on, you need to quietly put all of your materials back in your container and return it to the math center drawer.  It needs to be in the drawer that matches your table number.  I let the students work for five more minutes and then turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats. There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too.