Avery's Aliens: Counting by 5s to Larger Numbers

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Students will be able to count by 5s to larger numbers.

Big Idea

Counting by 5s is an essential math skill. Students will have fun reinforcing and expanding this skill in this alien themed lesson.


10 minutes

For this lesson, you will need a copy of the book, Avery's Aliens Skip Counting by 5s, included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print the book on a colored printer and laminate it.  It can be bound with a comb binder, book rings or simply stapled. You will also need an erasable pen to make the book interactive. 

I gather the students around my big chair and show them the cover of the book.  I tell them, The title of this story is Avery's Aliens.  Do you know what an alien is?  That's right.  An alien is a person or creature from outer space. So, if the title of our book is Avery's Aliens, I am thinking that Avery must have some aliens of her own.  Do you think these aliens are nice?  What could you do with an alien?  Let's talk to our neighbors about what you would do with an alien.

After the students have time to talk, I refocus them and begin reading the book.

Page 1:  Hi!! My name is Avery and these are my aliens. 

Page 2: The planet they come from is much warmer than Earth so they asked if I could take them shopping for gloves.  Could you take us shopping for gloves?

Page 3: I decided to stop by my friend Alvin’s store.  Welcome to Alvin’s Alien Accessory Store.  How can I help you?

Page 4: I told Alvin all about my problem. I can help you with that!

Page 5:  Alvin explained that Aliens come with all different numbers of fingers.  Some have as few as four fingers and some have over 50!!   50?  That’s a lot of fingers.

Page 6:  I need to tell Alvin how many fingers each alien has.  Can you help me count them? The children all say, "Yes!".

Page 7:  How many fingers does Purta the Purple Alien have?  I invite a student to come up and count the fingers.   I remind the student that we can count by 5s since there are 5 fingers on each hand.  After the student is done counting and recording the answer on the pages, the class counts together 

Page 8-10:  Continue as above with the class checking the work by counting. 

Page 9: Thanks for all of your help.  Now my aliens have warm hands

Page 10:  Very stylish.  Do you think they have hats to match?  The students laugh at this!

We now move over to our Smartboard spots.  

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use the Counting by 5s to Bigger Numbers Smart Notebook 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 by 5s.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend what number comes next when counting by 5s.

We then continue with the rest of the slides.

Slide 2:  I need to figure out how many fingers my aliens have.  Can you help me?

Slide 3:  Each of my aliens has 5 fingers.  It will be easiest if we skip count by 5s.  Remember, when we skip count by 5s, we only say every 5 numbers.  I count for the students emphasizing the numbers we say when we are skip counting.  I point to the numbers. 

Slide 4:  Let's look at a hundreds chart.  We can figure out which numbers we need to say when we count by 5s. Tap on each number we say when counting by 5s.

Slide 5:  When we count by 5s, what kind of pattern do you notice about the first number or the number that tells how many tens there are?  What kind of pattern do you notice about the ones or the second number?  We discuss how the tens number grows by one, every two numbers...1,1, 2, 2, 3, 3, etc.  We then talk about how the number in the ones place alternates between 5 and 0.  The students point out it is an AB pattern. 

Slide 6:  Let's try counting by 5s.  You can use the hundreds chart if you need help.  I use cards with the students' names to see who will come up to the Smartboard.  I have each student write two numbers so they see more of a connection between the numbers they are writing.  When the students are done filling in the blanks, we skip count together while I point to the numbers. 

Slides 7: Can you count even higher?  Continue as above. 

Slide 12:  It is now Turn and Talk time.  This is a chance for my students, especially my English Language Learners to practice their academic vocabulary.  Every child is partnered up with another student in the class who is their Turn and Talk partner.  They hold hands with their partner and then hold them up in the air so I can check to see that everyone has a partner.  I then ask them the question, My friend was counting by 5s.  She wants to know what numbers come next.  Can you figure it out?  The students start talking and when they are done with their discussion, I call on a student to share their answer with the class.  The student tells the class that the next numbers would be 95 and 100.  I repeat the student's answer saying, When I am counting by 5s, the next numbers I would say would be 95 and 100.   To check the answer, we count one more time by 5s to 100.

We go back to our tables for guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For guided practice, the students will be tracing their hands.  You will need two sheets of construction paper for each student, cut to 9 x 6 inches.  You could also use scratch paper if you did not want to display the hands after the lesson.  I actually had my students trace and cut out their hands earlier in the day when they had finished other work, so we were ready to begin guided practice right away did not need to wait for students to finish cutting. 

I have the students place their two hands in front of them. I tell the student, we are going to count how many fingers we have in our classroom.  We will start by counting how many fingers are at a table.  I want you to put your paper hands in a row and work together to count the number of fingers.  Do we have to count each finger?  No we don't, we can skip count by 5s since there are 5 fingers on each hand.

I tell the students to begin and they start count the number of fingers. See Count by 5s Bigger Numbers. I circulate around the room and assist the students as needed.  A common mistake that I see students making is counting by 10s instead of 5s.  It is an understandable mistake.  When you want to count the number of fingers by person, you count by 10s.  After the students are redirected, they have fun counting. 

We then start combing tables and counting the number of fingers.  At the end, I record the number of fingers from each group and I show the students I can add them on the board to see how many fingers there are in the class.  This is a fun fact for the students to take home and share with their parents.

If you want, the hands can be pasted in the classroom and used for further practice by the students.

The students clean up and prepare for independent practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For the independent practice portion of the lesson, you will need Count by 5s Bigger Numbers Independent Practice.  I print the activity sheet front to back.  I distribute the activity sheet to the students and have them put their name on it.

I tell the students, "We are going to practice skip counting by 5s.  There are glove on our sheet and we need to count how many fingers there are.  You will count how many fingers there are in each box.  When you start a new box, you start counting again from 5." 

The students begin counting and I circulate around the room to check their work. Several students do not count from 5 when they start a new box.  Remind, remind, remind is the patient and appropriate strategy when introducing new ideas. As the students finish their work, I check it before they place it in their mailbox, take advantage of this opportunity to ask some probing questions or a quick revision/rethink aloud, and take note of any students who need additional practice.