Math Centers - Reviewing Numbers to 10

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Students will be able to independently practice identifying, writing and ordering the numbers to 10.

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, counting and ordering numbers to 10.

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 'Haley has some teddy bears.  How many teddy bears does she have?'"  I say, "What is this problem asking us to do?"  (Count how many teddy bears Haley has.)  I have a students come up with a pointer and count the bears.  "It is hard to remember which ones we counted and which ones we didn't.  How could we make it easier?"  (Mark off the ones we counted or put them in the ten frame.)  I call up a student to mark off each teddy bear and another student to put them in the ten frame.  "We got the same answer both ways.  How many teddy bears does Haley have?"  (She has 10 teddy bears.)

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 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.  "We are going to learn about the centers that we will be working on this week.  All of our centers will be helping us review the number 0 to 10."

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:

Writing Numbers in Sand (Use Number Cards 0 to 10)
Number Order Puzzles (
Representing Numbers in Three Ways (
Dice Race (
Apple Counting SMART Board ( - Use slide 11 as center)

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

Explanation of Centers

The following centers are kept in a stack of plastic drawers in my classroom.  Each drawer has a number on it which corresponds to the numbers on the student tables.  The students take the center out of their numbered drawer, compete the center and return it to that same drawer when it is time to clean up.

Click on each center below to see a video explanation.

Writing Numbers in Sand
Number Order Puzzles
Counting and Ten Frames
Dice Race
Apple Counting SMARTBoard


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 pull a group today.  I wait until all of the students are started and ensure that there are not any questions.  I pull 3 groups today.  The first group I pull for 10 minutes and the other two groups I pull for about 5 minutes each.  During the first group, I give each student a pile of small eraser counters.  I show a number card and have the students count out that number of erasers.  We then do a very quick practice with flashcards for the number 0 to 10 and practice writing them on white boards.  For the second two groups, we just do the flash cards and white boards.  Prior to the last group, 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. 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. 

Students Working:

Number Order Puzzles
Counting and Ten Frames
Writing Numbers in Sand