# Mental Mondays #11

With this week’s mental and oral starter idea we are thinking about counting on (and counting back) and place value.

Like most of our other suggestions this can very easily be adapted to suit the needs of your children, which means it could be used with Early Years right up to Key Stage 3. We have also found that it adds a renewed level of interest and enthusiasm to ‘counting on’.

Here’s how it works with (say) Y3 children. You need a set of five cards showing different counting steps – these can be simply numbers written on scraps of card:

The cards are shuffled and held face down by the teacher. The top card is turned over and held up so all of the children can see it, they start counting from zero in steps as indicated on the card, for example:

2

"2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14"

The card is displayed throughout the count.

When the count is established (after seven or eight numbers), the teacher puts the card down and immediately shows the next one, the count must continue unbroken from the point where the cards were swapped:

5

(continuing from 14) "19, 24, 29, 34, 39, 44, 49"

Next card…

1

(continuing from 49) "50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57"

Next card…

-10

(suddenly we are counting down) "47, 37, 27, 17, 7"

Next card…

100

"107, 207, 307, 407, 507…"

When children are confident with this, and can move fluently form one type of counting to another, the cards can be changed more frequently. You could also ask a child to take control of the cards; to orchestrate the counting.

#### Extension and Alternative ideas:

Younger children could use a simplified set of counting cards; possibly ones containing duplicates, so that on occasions when the card changes the counting step remains the same. For example:

1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 10

More able groups should be challenged by using a broader range of counting steps:

-10, -5, -2, 0.5, 3, 7, 9, 50

It would also be useful to use algebraic variables

This is displayed on the wall:

a = 2
b = 10
c = 100

Counting cards include:

1/b,  1/a, ab, c/a

Extension – challenge the children to keep the counting cards the same, but to find other values for the letters a, b and c that would give meaningful counting steps.

## Comment viewing options

### Perfect! I have been looking

Perfect! I have been looking for something to help with skip counting and patterns! I like how simple this is to implement! Liz
0 users have voted.

### What a really catchy idea.

What a really catchy idea. It certainly gets the students thinking and having to listen to everyone else.
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### Great idea!

Great idea!
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### I did this with my Year 2

I did this with my Year 2 class just using cards marked 1,2 and 10 and they loved it. Really simple but all the children were engaged and focused. Brilliant!
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### I really like this idea...why

I really like this idea...why is it the simple ones are always the ones that work best (and I can never think of on my own!)?  Thank you so much for this idea, I can't wait to try it myself with my Year 2 class.
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### I  love the way that this can

I  love the way that this can be adapted to suit many different age groups and abilities thankyou
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### This is excellent! I have

This is excellent! I have discovered that children learn to rote count by 2, 5 and 10 but can not for the life of them count off the decade or start at different starting points and count on or back. This game allows them to practice this skill in a fun situation. Brilliant and I will share this with the all of the teachers.
1 user has voted.

### Sounds great can't wait to

Sounds great can't wait to try it with my year three's
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### A lovely Game, My Year 2

A lovely Game, My Year 2 children loved it!
3 users have voted.

### That's really good news.

That's really good news. Thank you for the feedback.
0 users have voted.