At the Races: More Practice Counting Backwards

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

Big Idea

More practice counting backwards awaits with a fun lesson at the race track.


5 minutes

To introduce this lesson, we play Sparkle.  In the version of Sparkle, the students practice counting backwards from ten.  The first person says ten.  The students continue around the circle counting backwards until the number one is said.  After the number one, the next student "sparkles" him or herself by saying the word, "Sparkle" and then they sit down.   I like having the students "sparkle" themselves.  That way, everyone gets to say something.  The next student begins the series again starting with 10.  See video.

The students continue around the circle until only one student is left standing.  The entire class gets to "Sparkle" that person and they sit down. 

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use the Race Car Count Backwards SmartBoard 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 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 any number up to 10.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend how counting backwards is the same or different from counting forward.

Slide 2:  You did a great job with counting backwards yesterday.  Let's go to the races and practice counting backwards some more!

Slide 3:  Can you count back? Write the numbers above the cars.  I call a student to the board to write out the numbers.  I remind the student to count in her head or use the classroom number line if needed.  We count backwards to check the students work. 

Slide 4-6:  Continue as above.

Slide 7: It's is now Turn and Talk Time.  During Turn and Talk, my students get the opportunity to practice their academic language.  This is especially important for my English Language Learners, but all of my students benefit from this practice.

Every student has a Turn and Talk partner.  I ask them to hold hands with their partner and raise their hands in the air so I know that everyone has a partner.  I then ask the students, How is counting backwards like counting forward?  How is it different?

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 shares that counting backwards is different from counting forward because you start with ten and end with one instead of the other way around.  It is the same because you say the numbers in an order (yeah!! great answer).  We now move to our seats for guided practice.  

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the Race Car Number Cards.  Print one set per student and cut apart.  Make sure they are not in number order.  I put each set of cards in a plastic zipper bag.  I suggest marking the back of each card within a set with a letter so the cards can be easily sorted if they get mixed up.

I distribute the cards to the students and I say to them, "We are going to practice counting backwards.  I will tell you what number we are going to count backwards from and you will find that number.  You will then find the numbers that we say after that number when counting backwards.  Put those numbers in order.  There will be some numbers you do not need.  Just put those in a pile.  I will check your work after each number."  

I tell the students to find the number 5 and then find all the numbers we would say when counting backwards from 5 and put them in order.  I circulate around the room and check the students work.  Some students are starting on the right-hand side so their numbers are in 1-10 order.  I correct this mistake.  After I have checked everyone's work, I have them mix their numbers up and then find the number 7.  We continue as above, counting backwards from several numbers.  I continue to monitor the students' work and correct any mistakes. 

After the guided practice is completed the students return the cards to the plastic bags and I collect them so we can begin independent practice. 

Independent Practice & Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For the independent practice portion of this lesson, you will need the Race Car Count Backwards resource.  Print the cards on a colored printer.  Cut them apart and tape the cards around your classroom.  Print one copy of the black and white recording sheet for each student. 

I distribute the recording sheet to the students and explain to them, "You will be going on a hunt to find race cards.  Then look at the number on the card.  You are going to count backward from that number.  Record the numbers as you count backward next to the letter that is on the corner of the card.  When you are done with that card, find another a card and continue counting backwards."

I circulate around the room and observe the students as they are working.  Some students continue to make the same mistake of recording numbers from the right side of the worksheet.  I correct these mistakes by asking the student to "count in counting order" - which means they are counting up by ones. I do this because they need to realize their error, and if I have them count backwards their "logic" will continue to drive them toward representing the numbers "out of counting order". Students can also be prompted by asking them to count to check, using counting in number line order. "Do our numbers go that way?" Even when counting backwards, does our number line change? So our numbers always have to look like a number line, even when we count backwards!"  I check the work as the students complete their hunt and have them put the worksheet back in their mailbox.