EL Support Lesson

Writing Three-Digit Number Names

Use this lesson to support students in learning how to write three-digit numbers as number names. This scaffolded EL lesson can be used alone or as a pre-lesson for All About Three-Digit Numbers.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the All About Three-Digit Numbers lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the All About Three-Digit Numbers lesson plan.

Students will be able to write three-digit numbers using number names.


Students will be able to explain how to write three-digit number names with content-specific vocabulary using sentence frames and partnerships for support.

(4 minutes)
  • Create a table on the whiteboard with two columns and two rows (four squares total).
  • Write one of the following numbers in each square: 375, 258, 361, and two hundred eighty six.
  • Ask students to pair up and say, "I want you to look at the information on the whiteboard. Turn and talk to your partner and think about what you notice about each of these numbers. Which numbers go together? Why? Which number or numbers don't fit in with the rest? What similarity do all the numbers share? Justify your reasoning."
  • Provide the following sentence stems to support students as they share their ideas:
    • I notice that some of the numbers ____.
    • The number that doesn't fit in is ____.
    • The numbers that go together are ____.
    • All of the numbers are the same because ____.
  • Read through the sentence frames and allow students a few minutes to discuss their ideas with their partners.
  • Allow a few partnerships to share their reasoning for grouping numbers in various ways.
(8 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that all the numbers are similar because they are three-digit numbers. Continue by explaining that the numbers 375, 258, and 361 are all written in base-ten form. Clarify that base-ten form is when numbers are written in their corresponding place values (5 ones, 7 tens, 3 hundreds). Elaborate that two hundred eighty six is written using its number name, or written form.
  • Put the students into partnerships and pass out the Vocabulary Cards to each pair.
  • Read through the student-friendly definitions of each vocabulary word, pausing to encourage students to explain the definition in their own words to their partner.
  • Model deciding on and creating a picture to represent place value. Draw the picture above the definition on the vocabulary card.
  • Instruct students to create pictures for the remaining vocabulary words. Guide them as they discuss what picture they should draw in their partnerships. Provide a sentence frame to support discussion, such as:
    • I think we should draw ____ because ____.
  • Allow a few partnerships to share out their drawings with the rest of the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that today they will be writing down number names that connect to base-ten numerals.
  • Keep students in partnerships and provide a whiteboard and whiteboard marker to each pair. Pass out one of the baggies to each partnership as well.
  • Assign each partner a letter (e.g. A and B).
  • Ask the students to dump out the contents of their bags and instruct partner A to collect all the numbers written in base-ten form. Tell partner B to pick up the notecard with the number names written on it. Read the number names aloud. Explain to the students that this notecard will be a word bank to help them write down the words on their whiteboard.
  • Write the following directions on the whiteboard:
    1. Partner A shows Partner B one of the number cards.
    2. Partner B says, "You are holding the number ____ (says number aloud)."
    3. Partner A repeats number back to partner B.
    4. Partner B says, "I need to write ____ using words."
    5. Partner A and Partner B work together, using the word bank, to write down the number name.
  • Read through the directions and call a student volunteer to the front of the classroom to model following the directions and solving the problem with you (one of you will be partner A and the other partner B). Clarify any misconceptions, explicitly refer to the word bank to support you as you write down the number using number names, and make sure to reinforce that students should leave the number names of all five numbers recorded on their whiteboards for use in the next part of the lesson.
(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. Provide students with sufficient time to solve the problem.


  • Define vocabulary words in English and students' home language (L1).
  • Provide students with a word bank with number names in English and their L1.
  • Pair students with a partner who speaks the same L1, if possible.
  • Encourage students to draw a visual or write the number name in base-ten form on their word bank notecards to support their understanding.


  • Encourage students to share their ideas without referring to the sentence stems/frames for support.
  • Instruct students to repeat back the directions of the group activity in their own words.
  • Challenge students to read aloud the number names on the word bank card.
(5 minutes)
  • Conduct a carousal activity. Explain to the students that they will rotate around the classroom (with their whiteboards) and record the number names on the anchor chart that shows the corresponding number in base-ten form.
  • Instruct students to get started and observe them as they record their answers.
(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 the number name on one of the anchor charts.
  • Provide students with a sentence frame to support their discussion, such as:
    • I agree/disagree with ____ because ____.
  • Reinforce that learning the number names is important to help students read story problems in mathematics as well as understand how to record numbers in different forms. All of these things will help them become better mathematicians.

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