Number Cards and Counters
- Numerals from 1 to 10 in black on white cards and 55 counters all
the same size and color.
- To arrange the numerals in their correct order while putting the
proper quantity with each. A minor purpose is to arrange the
counters to give a visual impression of odd and even quantities and
later to teach the terms "odd" and "even."
- 4 and a half years and older
- The material is taken to the child's table. The teacher
sits beside the child and lays the cards on the table in mixed
order. She asks the child to find "1." When he has done so, she
shows him to put the "1" card on the extreme left hand side of the
table. She hands him the box of counters and asks him to put one
of them under the "1" card.
- She asks the child which numeral comes after "one." He
should be able to tell her, "Two." She asks him to find the
card. When he has done this, she shows him how to put it next to
the "1" card, and she asks him to put two counters below it.
- The exercise proceeds with the child finding each numeral in
sequence, and putting the correct number of counters under it.
The teacher shows him to arrange the counters in pairs, with the odd
- It is obvious that alternate numbers are odd and even but no
comment is made at this point. When the child understands the
exercise, he is left to work independently. The material is kept
on a shelf for him to use whenever he likes.
Control of Error
- The sum of the numbers 1 to 10 is 55. Therefore, there are
exactly the right number of counters for the exercise. Should a
mistake be made, there will be too many or too few at the end of the
exercise, and the child can correct his work.
- When the child is doing the exercise easily, the teacher can
explain the terms, odd and even numbers. "These numbers, 1, and
3, end in a single counter. We call them odd numbers. Can
you find other odd numbers?" The child will point to 5, 7, and
9. To reinforce this visually, the teacher could ask the child to
push up the odd number cards.
- "The number two ends in an even pair of counters, so we call it
an even number. Which other numbers end in an even pair?"
The child points to 4, 6, 8, and 10. "That's right. 2, 4, 6, 8,
and 10 are even numbers."
- In the series of exercises for teaching the understanding of the
quantities and the numerals 1 to 10, we guide the child to sequence
numbers correctly by building the correct order of the numbers into the
first two materials.
- 1. Number Rods - The quantities are fixed and the numerals are
loose. By building the rods into a stair, from smallest to
largest, and placing the number cards on the end segment of each rod,
the child sees the numbers in correct sequence.
- 2. Spindle Box - The quantities are loose and the numerals are
fixed in sequence along the top of the box.
- 3. Cards and Counters - Both numerals and quantities are
loose. This is the first time we have asked the child to sequence
number without providing a control for the sequencing.