Blast Off! Counting Backwards Within 10

11 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to count backwards from any number within 10.

Big Idea

Rocket Rat has a big problem launching his rockets. Your students will be able to help him out this fun introduction to counting backwards.


10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you need the book Blast Off.  I print the book on a colored printer and laminate the pages.  I bind it with a binding comb, but book rings or stapling would also work.

I gather the students around my big chair and I say to them, I have a new story for you today.  It is called Blast Off.  Do you know what this is a picture of on the cover of the book?  That's right.  It is a rocket.  What do you think this book might be about?  Why don't you talk to a neighbor and see what you can come up with.  The students talk for a bit and then I listen to what they come up with.  I then summarize their predictions.  So, you are predicting that this story is about a rat that blasts into space.  Let's read and find out. 

Page 1:  My name is Rocket Rat.  I am in charge of launching rockets.  I have a whole team of workers.  We are never quite sure when the rocket is going  to launch.

Page 2:  Then I came up with a great idea!  What if we counted backwards from a number?  After the number 1 is said, the rocket could launch.

Page 3: Let’s try it. We will count backwards from 5.  Count with me. The students count along with me.  5-4-3-2-1  Blast Off!   Great job!!!  That worked well.

Page 4: Let’s try counting backwards from 10.  Again, the students are invited to count with me.  Ready…10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1  Blast Off!  Wow!! You are really good at this!

Page 5: Let’s try that one more time!  Ready…10-9-8-7-6  

Page 6:  STOP!!!!  No more counting…PLEASE!!!  I ask the students, Why does he want us to stop counting?   5-4-3-2-1

Page 7:  Why do you have to be so good at this???  The students laugh.  

So, how did you do at predicting what this story would be about?  I didn't think it would be about a rat going into space when I first started reading it, but I was surprised at the end of the story!  You did a great job counting backwards with me.  Let's move over to the SMART Board and work some more with counting backwards. 

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use the Counting Backwards Notebook File SMART Board file.  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 file you can use to 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 count backwards from a given number 1-10.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how to count backwards from a given number 1-10.

Slide 2:  Remember me, Rocket Rat?  I decided that counting backwards was a great way to launch rockets.

Slide 3:  We can always use a number line to help us count backwards.

Slide 4:   We find the number on the number line and then move to the left!  Let's fill this one out together.  I write the numbers on the lines as the students say the numbers for me. 

Slide 5:  Now I want you to try it.  Find the number and move to the left. I invite a student to come up to the board and fill in the numbers.  When they are done, I have the class check their work as I point to the numbers on the number line.

Slide 6-8: Continue as above. 

Slide 9: It's is now Turn and Talk Time.  Turn and Talk allows my students to expand and practice their vocabulary.  Every student in my class has a Turn and Talk partner.  I always have the students hold hands with their partner and hold their hands in the air so I know that everyone has a partner. 

Once the students are with their partners, I ask them this question:  My friend counted backwards from 8.  How did he do?

The students quickly turn toward their partners and begin discussing.  When the students are done, I invite a student to share with the class.  The student explains that there is a mistake.  The person skipped the number four.  I have the student go up to the SMART Board and use the number line to explain.  I remind the class, It is important to say every number when I am counting backwards.  We then go back to our seats and get ready for guided practice. 

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need the Hanging Number Tags.  I have 21 students so I run two sets of the numbers so everyone has one.  I laminate the cards so they can be reused and I punch two holes in the cards and attach a string so the students can wear the cards.

I distribute the cards so one half of the room has one set of the numbers and the other side has the other set of numbers.  I say to the students, We are going to be counting backwards together.  I will call a number out.  The students who have that number will go to the front of the room.  Then, we are going to practice counting backwards, so if your number is one of the numbers we would say when counting backwards from that number you will go to the front of the room and get into backwards number order.

I ask the number 7 to go to the front of the room.  I then invite all the students who would be a number said when counting backwards to go to the front of the room.  We then count backwards together from 7 to check our work. 

We continue doing this several times until all the students have had at least one chance to go in front of the class.  Each time we check our work by counting backwards. When we are done, I collect the numbers and we then move into independent practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need the Rocket Count Down Activity Sheet.  I duplicate the sheet front to back to save paper.

I distribute the activity sheet to my students and ask them to put their name at the top of their paper.  I then explain to the students, You will be practicing counting backwards just like we did with our number cards.  I want you to look at the number on the rocket.  You will count backwards from that number, writing one number on each line.  There are the correct number of lines, so if you have any lines left or if you don't have enough lines, there is probably a mistake that needs to be fixed. 

The students begin working on the activity sheet. I observe their work to see if they need any assistance.  When they have completed the work, I have them pick a few of the problems and have them count backwards for me for additional practice before putting the sheet in their mailbox.