Lesson plan

Introducing the Number Three!

In this introductory math lesson, students will become familiar with the concept of counting and representing numbers with concrete materials. Your students will enjoy using their creativity as they practice representing the number three on their very own!
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Introducing Numbers! pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Introducing Numbers! pre-lesson.

Students will be able to represent numbers using drawings and objects.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for a read-aloud.
  • Display the cover of the book and say, "This book is called How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten? Does anyone know what the word 'count' means?"
  • Listen to student ideas and say, "Let's read the book and see if we can practice our counting skills now!"
(10 minutes)
  • Read the book aloud, pausing to model thinking aloud as you notice and count the objects listed on each page.
  • Choose one of the math manipulative sets (for example, bears) and introduce them to the class by saying, "These are counting bears. We are going to practice counting and sorting them. I wonder how I should count them. I think I will pull out a handful and see if I can figure out how many bears I have in all."
  • Model counting up to 10 bears/items. Make sure to demonstrate one-to-one correspondence as you count.
  • Say, "What else do you think I could do with the bears?" Then allow for students to share ideas with a peer or the whole class (e.g., sort by color, size, etc).
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that now you will pair students together and pass out a set of math manipulatives for them to explore.
  • Pair students together (keeping them in a group on the rug, preferably a circle) and provide each pair with a set of math manipulatives to explore.
  • Pause students and note the different ways they are exploring their materials, e.g., "I see that Olive and Nia are finding all of the bears that are the same color and putting them in groups. I also notice that Sam and Rio are counting their bears one at a time to see how many they have in all."
(10 minutes)
  • Write the number (3) on the board in a large font.
  • Point to the number and say, "This is the number three. Can you practice writing the number three in the air with invisible paint?"
  • Ask students to repeat after you to count by saying, "Let's count to three. I will say each number first and you repeat after me. One...Two...Three.... Now I will draw a picture of three dots."
  • Demonstrate both drawing and counting your three dots to check that you have three.
  • Explain that today the class will get to draw their very own picture of three! Tell them that they can use the unlined paper and crayons to draw three of anything that they want.
  • Pass out materials and send students to work independently.


  • Work with a small group of students to practice one-to-one correspondence with numbers 1-5. This will help students to learn the relationship between numbers and quantity.
  • Review or practice counting 1-10 using songs, stories, or resources like a number line.


  • Encourage students to practice writing the target number (3) on their work.
  • Ask students to represent a greater quantity (e.g., 4, 5, or 6) using math manipulatives and/or drawings.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room as students are working to assess their ability to accurately sort and count the target number (3).
  • Collect student work to check that they were able to accurately represent the target number using pictures.
  • As students are working both in pairs and individually, check for any areas of confusion to address either individually or as a whole group (e.g., mixing up numbers, unable to keep track while counting objects, etc).
(3 minutes)
  • Gather students together and celebrate their progress by displaying the finished pictures.
  • Ask 2-3 students to share their picture with the class by telling what they drew and having the class count the objects as a group.

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