Lesson Plan

Counting Collections

Counting collections are a great way to help students practice counting while gaining practice recording and justifying their thinking. Students will work specifically with the numbers 1-30 to develop fluency counting and writing numbers.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Fill Three Towers pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Fill Three Towers pre-lesson.

Count all the way up to 30 in the Counting Collections lesson plan! Highlighting number sense skills and providing real-world practice with two-digit numbers, this hands-on math lesson pairs well with the first-grade curriculum. Students will work in groups as they look at countable objects together. First, they will make an estimate. Then, they’ll count them up! Students will work together, use symbols or shapes to help them tally up the objects, and compare their final counts with other groups as they complete the activities.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to count within 30.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
  • Show students a bag of like objects. Consider having the class sit in a circle so students can see the whole group of objects.
  • Ask students to estimate, or guess, how many objects are in the group.
  • Beginning:

    • Create an illustrated word bank of the items that students will count in the counting collections, beginning with the item that you are using to demonstrate.
    • Model estimating as you think aloud, estimating amounts of items in the classroom such as crayons in a bin or marbles in the class marble jar. Tell students, "I estimate that there are about __ ___ ___ ______ __ ___ ___ ______ crayons in this tub."
    • For Spanish-speaking students, point out cognate estimate/estimar.
  • Intermediate:

    • Invite students to share their estimate with a partner using the sentence frame "I estimate that there are about __ ___ ___ ______ __ ___ ___ ______ ." Explain that when we say "about" or "approximately" we are giving our best guess how many items there are.