All Aboard! Ordering Numbers 0-20 Least to Greatest

12 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to order three numbers (0-20) from least to greatest.

Big Idea

Students have compared numbers 0-20. Now it's time to take this skill one step further and have them order three numbers from least to greatest.


10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you need a book about trains.  I chose Freight Train by Donald Crew to read to the students.  Any basic book about trains will work, but I like how this one talks about the different cars that a train might pull.  The purpose is to spark an interest in trains and activate prior knowledge of trains, which will be used as the theme for this lesson. 

I gather the students around my chair and show them the book.  I point out the cover and then tell them, "The title of this book is Freight Train.  The author, or person who wrote this book is Donald Crew." 

I ask the students some questions:  "Have you ever seen a train?  Have you ever rode on a train?  Do you think a train goes fast or slow?"  (We just finished a language arts unit on this topic). I call on students to share and I also give them an opportunity to share with a neighbor.

After I have asked enough questions to activate their knowledge, I read the story.  When I was done with the story, I ask the students a question.  "Do you think they hook the cars on the train up in a certain order?  I bet they do.  I know that the caboose is always last.  I bet there are certain cars that have to go in a certain spot on the train.  That makes me think of our math lesson.  Today, we are going to talk about how we can put numbers in counting order.  Let's move over to the SMARTBoard to find out some more."


15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMARTBoard.  If you have a SMARTBoard, the 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 order numbers (0-20) from least to greatest.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how to order numbers (0-20) from least to greatest.


We then continue with the rest of the slides.

Slide 2:  Hi!  I'm Engineer Earl.  I am wondering if you can help me.  I need to put my circus train cars in order.  I want to put them in order from least to greatest.  Can you help me?

Slide 3:  I want to compare these numbers and then put them in order from least to greatest.  To do this, I need to find the smallest number.

Slide 4:  Just like comparing two numbers, I can use a number line to help me.  The numbers close to the small train are less than the numbers close to the big train.

Slide 5:  Let's start comparing these numbers.   Which number is closest to the smallest train?  That will be our first number.  I ask for student input and then move the number.  Which number is next?  Again, I ask the students for the answer and then move it into place.  And then which number is the last number?  I move that number.  

Slide 6:  Let's try putting my train cars in order from least to greatest.  I invite three students to come up and put the train cars in order.  When they are done, the class checks their work, by saying the numbers and moving along the number line from left to right.

Slide 7-9: Continue as above.

Slide 10:  It is now turn and talk time.  Turn and Talk allows my English Learners to practice their academic language with a peer. The students hold hands with their assigned Turn and Talk partner and lift their hands in the air so I can check that everyone has a partner.   I ask them the question, My friend put these train cars in order.  How did she do? I give the students time to talk with their partners.  When I can see that the conversation has ended.  I invite a student to share.  The student says, They are wrong.  The six is the smallest number.  It should be first.  I ask the class if they agree.  I invite a student to come up and fix the train cars.  We then double check to make sure they are in the correct order.

We then move to our tables for guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this section you need will need a set of the Number Trains 0-20.  I use a color printer and laminate the cars for durability, so I can put them in learning centers and use them in future years.  I cut around each train car, but they could also be left on the white paper.  I do not use the engine in this activity, but I included it with the lesson for center use.

I distribute the cars to the students.  I tell the students, "I am going to put you into groups.  Do not show your train car to anyone in your group.  When I tell you to start, you will work together as a group to order your train cars from least to greatest." 

I randomly place the students in groups of three students.  I have one group with four students because of my class size.  They spread out in the room to have space to work.  I tell them to begin and the students work together to order the train car from least to greatest.  I circulate around the room to check on their progress and give assistance as needed.

When everyone is done, we go around the room and the students say their numbers in order.  The class checks their work.  When they are done, I mix the students up again so they have different numbers to work with.  We do this a few times until I am confident that the students are comfortable with the concept. 

I collect the train cars and we prepare for independent practice.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

For this activity, you will need the Number Train Student Cards.  I have 21 students, so I run 11 sets in green and 10 sets in blue.  When I distribute the cards I alternate, blue and green, so the students do not have the same color as their neighbors at their table.  The cards are cut and placed in small brown bags.

You will also need the Least to Greatest Train Activity sheets for each student.

I distribute the activity sheets to the students and tell them to put their names on the top of the paper.  I tell them, "We are going to compare three numbers and order them from least to greatest.  You will draw three numbers out of the bag.  You will put them in order from least to greatest.  Then you will write the numbers in order from least to greatest on the first train.  Put the numbers back in the bag, mix them up and grab three more numbers.  Put those numbers in order from least to greatest and write them down.  Continue doing this until you have completed the sheet.  Put your numbers back in the bag and then bring the sheet to me to check."

I pass out the bags of cards to the students and they begin the activity.  I circulate around the room to monitor their work.  As students finish, I check their work and the place it in their mailboxes.