Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Ordinal Numbers Are Out of this World

Cindy Jacobs


Students identify and write ordinal numbers by following the sequence the school bus followed during a field trip to the nine planets in the solar system. This is based on the book THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS LOST IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM.


The student uses ordinal numbers 1st - 10th or higher.


-Markers or crayons


1. Make sure you have a copy or copies of the book MAGIC SCHOOL BUS LOST IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM.
2. You may wish to read the story in advance to shorten the lesson time.


1. Read the book to the class. You may wish to read it in advance.

2. Write the words ordinal number on the chalkboard. Tell students that ordinal numbers are used to tell a position.

3. Ask five students to stand up in front of the class. Write a 1 above the first student and a 2 above the second student. Continue until each student has a number written above his head.

4. Explain that the student standing beneath the 1 has a special place or position in line. Tell them we call this position first, which can also be written as 1st. Show the different ways this number can be written on the chalkboard. Continue in this sequence down the line for all five students.

5. Tell students that in the book Mrs. Frizzle's class visited all nine planets in the Solar System. Discuss the sequence her class followed in order to visit these planets.

6. Pass out paper to each student. Have them draw and label the nine planets in sequence on one side. You will have to list them on the board in order for the students. Be sure to include the name of each planet.

7. When through, have students turn their papers over and write a brief paragraph about the sequence of events using ordinal numbers such as first, second, third, etc. Students should identify the same path the Magic School Bus followed.

8. Pick a few students to share their papers. Collect papers for assessment purposes.


1. Mastery or non mastery will be based on whether or not students list the planets in the appropriate sequence and correctly identify the ordinal number of each (see procedures 5, 6, and 7). Students should get 8 out of 9 ordinal numbers correct.


This activity could be reinforced if you have any spare time when students are lined up to go to lunch, P.E., etc. Have students tell the position they as well as others are in while lined up. Students could sequence days of the week and months of the year. Ordinal numbers could be used during social studies lessons if students are learning about the sequence of our presidents.
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