Lesson 9 - Math Techniques for Adult Basic Education (ABE) Learners Illinois State Library

Math Readiness Activities

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Some adult learners may not know their numbers at all. These adult learners need to develop math readiness skills. They need to learn basic skills such as number recognition and sequencing.

The following strategies demonstrate some math readiness activities.

Number Recognition

Cut numbers from sandpaper and paste them on an index card. Have the adult learner trace the number with his or her finger. This tactile activity helps the adult learner begin to recognize and name numbers. Have the learner practice writing numbers in sand on a tray.

Money

Count pennies in sets of 10. Have the learner make stacks of 5 pennies to trade for nickels, 10 pennies for dimes, and stacks of 2 nickels to trade for dimes.

Place Value

Cut nine individual squares and one strip of ten squares from a sheet of graph paper. Individual squares are unit squares and each strip of ten is a "ten-strip". Show different numbers and ask the learner to say which place each number is in.

Counting by 2s

Put 20 pennies in a pile and have the tutor move 2 at a time while counting by 2s. Next, place 20-40 pennies in the pile and count by 2s with the learner as you move 2 at a time. Then put 40-50 pennies in the pile and have the learner count by 2s as they move 2 at a time.

Counting by 5s

Place 30 pennies in stacks of 5. Have the learner count each penny in some of the stacks to see the number in each stack. Count the pennies by 5s with the learner.

Talk about 1 nickel = 5 pennies. Place a number of nickels on the table, less than 20, and guide the learner as they count how many pennies the nickels are worth.

Write the numerals 5, 10, 15,…30 and ask the student how these numerals are alike. Ask the student what number will come next when counting by 5s. Practice by giving a number and asking for the response.

Counting by 10s

Place 50 pennies in stacks of 10. Have the learner count each penny in some of the stacks to see the number in each stack. Count the pennies by 10s with the learner.

Talk about 1 dime = 10 pennies. Place a number of dimes on the table, less than 20, and guide the learner as they count how many pennies the dimes are worth.

Write the numerals 10, 20, 30, ….60 and ask the student how these numerals are alike. Ask the student what number will come next when counting by 10s. Practice by giving a number and asking for the response.

Even and Odd Numbers

Give students 55 small items (pennies, poker chips, checkers, etc.) and ask them to build a model of each number 1 to 10 by forming two rows as evenly as possible. Write even on one sheet of paper and odd on another. Ask the student to place the models with two even rows under the word "even" and record the numbers. Have them place the other models under the word "odd" and record the numbers. Discuss how the model sets are alike (each model of even numbers has two even rows. Each model of odd numbers has one more in one row than the other).

Shade every other number on a calendar (2,4,6,…30) with a favorite color. Have the student identify these numbers as the numbers used when counting by 2s. Tell them another name is even numbers. Ask if they know the name for the ones not shaded.