Taking Turns to Counting On

Subject Area





In this learning activity, the students will work together taking turns to add small quantities encouraging counting on rather than recounting the set from one each time. It engages the students by using the number cubes to produce numbers and collect counters.  It will help students to count and organize numbers more efficiently.

This activity results from the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Relate counting to addition and subtraction.

    Unpacked Content



    • Number paths


    Students know:
    • how to count on or count back from a given number within 20.


    Students are able to:
    • Explain counting strategies for addition and subtraction.


    Students understand that:
    • counting patterns can be used to find solutions in addition and subtraction situations.
    • A variety of models and tools can be used to communicate justifications for mathematical ideas and solutions.
    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Extend the number sequence from 0 to 120.

    Unpacked Content



    • Number
    • Numeral


    Students know:
    • number/numeral correspondence (from 0-120).
    • Strategies for counting sets of objects.
    • how to read numbrs from 0 - 120.
    • how to write numbers from 0 - 120.


    Students are able to:
    • strategically apply counting strategies.
    • Write numerals 0-20.


    Students understand that:
    • there are patterns in our base ten number system.
    • quantities can be represented both physically and symbolically (numerals).
    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Count forward and backward by ones, starting at any number less than 120.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Read numerals from 0 to 120.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Write numerals from 0 to 120.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 1


    Represent a number of objects from 0 to 120 with a written numeral.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    • The student will count and keep track of amounts up to 60.
    • The student will count on from an unknown quantity.
    • The student will organize objects to count them more efficiently.
    • The student will relate counting to addition by counting on. 

    Activity Details

    1. Post an example of the recording sheet. Introduce the game by playing a demonstration game with a volunteer.  
    2. Player 1 rolls the number cube.
    3. Player 1 makes a group of counters the same as the one that was rolled. Example: If Player 1 rolls a 4 then he or she will make a group of 4 using the counters. 
    4. Both players record that number on the first row of the recording sheet. Example: We rolled 4. Now we have 4.
    5. Player 2 rolls the number cube.
    6. Player 2 adds the number of counters to the group. Counting on to complete the second row on the recording sheet. Example:  We rolled 2. Now we have 6.
    7. Both players record the new number of counters in the group.
    8. Players repeat the steps until the recording sheet is filled.
    Assessment Strategies

    Variation Tips

    • Some students may benefit from playing a few rounds with you.
    • Students who are not counting on should try using a number cube with lower numbers.
    • Students can play fewer turns.
    • Students can use ten frames to keep track of counters and to help them count more efficiently.
    • Students ready to work with numbers to 50 and above can play for 20 turns.
    • Some students may be ready to use two number cubes.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    • Prepare a recording sheet for every student.
    • Prepare a bag with a number cube and counters for each pair of students.

    Digital Tools / Resources