EL Support Lesson

Showing Numbers in Different Ways

Use this hands-on lesson to encourage collaboration amongst students as they review base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson to Base Ten Block Party or as a stand-alone activity.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Base-Ten Block Party lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Base-Ten Block Party lesson plan.

Students will be able to read and write numbers to 1,000.


Students will be able to ask clarifying questions with content specific vocabulary in order to write numbers to 1,000 in base-ten, expanded, and written form using partnerships and sentence frames for support.

(4 minutes)
  • Bring the students together and write the following information on the whiteboard:
    • 1,238
    • 1000 + 200 + 30 + 8
    • One thousand two hundred thirty eight
  • Create a word bank next to the information (draw a circle around the word bank to separate it from the information) with the words base-ten numeral, number name, and expanded form.
  • Explain to the students that in mathematics, we can show numbers in different ways.
  • Read through the words in the word bank and explain that each of the words represents a way in which we can show numbers.
  • Instruct the students to complete a think-pair-share, matching the information on the whiteboard to the words in the word bank.
  • Allow a partnership to come up to the board to correctly label the information. Ask the other students in the classroom to stand up if they agree, and to stay seated if they disagree. Do not clarify the correct information, as you will get to this after introducing the vocabulary words for the lesson.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be learning how to write numbers in base-ten numerals, using number names, and also expanded form.
(8 minutes)
  • Pair students up and pass out the Vocabulary Cards to each partnership.
  • Read through the student-friendly definitions, referring to the visuals to support student understanding.
  • Assign each partnership one or two of the vocabulary words (it's okay if partnerships share the same word) and challenge them to think of another visual that could be used to represent the meaning of the vocabulary card.
  • Call each partnership up to the front of the room to explain the visual they chose and justify their reasoning.
  • Provide sentence frames to support students as they share their ideas, such as:
    • We chose to draw ____ because ____.
    • This drawing helps me understand the meaning of ____ (insert vocabulary word) because _____.
(10 minutes)
  • Keep students in partnerships and provide a whiteboard and whiteboard marker to each pair.
  • Assign each partner a letter (e.g. A and B).
  • Pass out one of the four-digit number notecards to partner A and give the directive notecards to partner B. Make sure the partners keep their notecards hidden from each other.
  • Read through the directions on the directive notecard and call a student volunteer to the front of the classroom to model solving the problem with you (one of you will be partner A and the other partner B).
  • Write the following directions on the whiteboard:
    1. Look at the information on your notecards without showing your partner.
    2. Partner B asks Partner A, "What number do you have?"
    3. Partner A says, "I have the number ____."
    4. Partner B says, "We need to write the number in expanded form, base ten form, and as a number name."
    5. Partner A and Partner B work together to solve the problem.
  • Read through the directions on the whiteboard and and explicitly model how to follow steps 1–5 with the student volunteer.
  • Clarify any misconceptions and make sure to reinforce that students should refer to their vocabulary words for support. Instruct students to record their answers on their personal whiteboard.
(8 minutes)
  • Give students time to solve the problems. As they solve the problems, tape up the anchor charts around the classroom.
  • Observe students as they record the information on their whiteboards. Once students have had sufficient time to solve the problem, conduct a carousel activity. Explain to the students that they will rotate around the classroom (with their whiteboards) and record their answers on the Expanded Form, Number Name, and Base-Ten Numeral anchor charts.
  • Instruct students to get started and observe them as they record their answers.


  • Define vocabulary words in English and student's home language (L1).
  • Pair students with a partner who speaks the same L1, if possible.
  • Allow students to discuss their answers in their L1 with a small group of peers who speak the same L1.


  • Encourage students to share their ideas without referring to the sentence stems/frames for support.
  • Instruct students to detail their process during group work, using sequencing words to explain how they figured out the expanded form, number name, and base-ten numeral form of their assigned number.
  • Challenge students to define important vocabulary words during the closing activity.
(5 minutes)
  • Bring the anchor charts to the front of the classroom and display them so all students can see.
  • Review student work and choose a number of student volunteers to come up and justify their reasoning for recording their answer on one of the anchor charts.
  • Provide students with a sentence frame to support their discussion, such as:
    • I agree/disagree with ____ because ____. I would change ____.
(5 minutes)
  • Divide students into two groups. One group is the inside circle and the other group forms the outside circle.
  • Have students pair up with students in the opposing circle and face one another.
  • Write the following sentence starter on the board:
    • Something new I learned today was ____.
  • Ask the students in the inside circle to respond to the sentence starter first. After a minute, have students reverse roles and the outside partners respond.
  • Circulate around the circles and listen to comments.
  • Use the information to guide further planning.

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