Maths and Numeracy

Practical Teaching Advice and Activities from English Teachers in Japan

Home > Numeracy

1. Counting 1-10 Game

  • Introducing Numbers 1-10. To play requires simply a softball.
    1. Stand in a circle holding hands
    2. Kick the softball to, not at, each other
    3. Restart the count if the ball goes outside the circle
    4. Praise students for counting aloud with you

  • Extension
    • This activity can work equally well with counting by 2, by 5, or the alphabet.

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  • How to play

    This is a fantastic maths game, for a review or warm up activity. Works great with children ages 4-7. If there are parents in the room try a Students vs Parents battle. The students usually win.


    To play

    Show the children the robot picture for exactly 2 seconds (or 1 second) and ask how many circles, squares, triangles or stars they saw. Print the preview and try it for yourself. Deceptively challenging yet fun.

    ESL / Young Learners Theme

    • Numeracy
    • Counting
    • Shapes

    The Download

    • 4 Color Robot Posters - pdfs - print these out as large as you can for the whole class to see.
    • Instructions page.
  • In Class

    Review the four basic shapes - star, circle, square and triangle. I of course recommend using The Shapes Song by myself and The Magic Crayons (in my store).

    With the students seated in front of you VERY briefly (one or two seconds) show them one robot poster. Ask them “How many squares?”. Have every child give you an answer, or take votes on whether on what the total was. Once the votes are counted then open up the poster and count the shapes together with the class.

    Be firm but fair! If they are way off the first time around announce proudly you are the Super Robot Champion, and repeat the game with another robot or shape. Second time around they should be more determined to beat you.

    Some of the combinations are harder to guess than others. The circle mouse robot seems to be the most challenging.

    I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine. It works well in the staff room too by the way.

3. Introducing place value

  • Introducing Numbers 1-10

    Introducing place value - Numbers 1 to 10 - with Nimo

4. Addition and subtraction strategies

    • Addition Strategy - Count on by 1, count on by 2, count on by 3, count on by 0, count back by 1,
    • Subtraction Strategy - Cover-ups and Turnaround

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