Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Color Me Red if I Am a Ten

Deborah Ford
Santa Rosa District Schools


Are your students having a hard time understanding the concept of counting by tens? Here is a quick sure fire way to get it across to them. Each student will have a hundreds chart and as you discover which numbers are said when counting by tens, the students will color the number and only the number with red.


The student counts orally to 100 or more by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s using a hundred chart or concrete materials.


- Two hundreds charts for each student
- Hundreds chart for a overhead projector
- Overhead projector
- Red Vis-a-Vis pen
- Red crayon for each student


1. Obtain an overhead projector
2. Have a hundreds chart to use on the overhead projector
3. Two copies of the hundreds chart for each student which can be found in any math series that your school uses.


1. Prerequisite for this activity includes knowledge of a two digit number having a tens place and a ones place. For example, every morning we do the calendar and we put a straw in our place value pockets (hundred, ten, ones) to count the number of days we have been in school. We discuss that the ones pocket only holds 9 loose ONES. When the straws get to 10 in the ones pocket then I pretend that the tenth straw will not go in. (Like it has a mind of its own.) That means we BUNDLE the 10 straws (rubber band them) and put them in their very own special pocket called the tens pocket. Now the ones pocket has none so we put a zero above the pocket. We count the bundles of ten in the ten pocket and place the appropriate number above the tens pocket.

2. Set up the overhead projector.

3. Distribute the hundreds chart to each student.

4. Instruct the students to write their names on the charts.

5. Have the students take out a red crayon.

6. Begin by having students identify the number ten on the chart.

7. Demonstrate by pointing to the number ten on the overhead projector.

8. Instruct the students to color this number with the red crayon.

9. Explain to them how to discover the next ten by counting by ones from 11 to 20.

10. Instruct the students to color the number 20 with the red crayon.

11. Identify what is common with the numbers 10 and 20.

12. Observe that both numbers have a zero in the ones place (prior knowledge).

13. Demonstrate to them on the overhead how to discover the next ten by counting by ones from 21 to 30.

14. Instruct the students to color the number 30 with the red crayon as the teacher demonstrates on the overhead.

15. Identify what is common with the numbers 10, 20 and 30.

16. Observe that the numbers all have a zero in the ones place (prior knowledge).

17. Instruct the students to locate the next ten to be colored red when counting by tens.

18. Observe the students as they are calculating the next number.

19. Demonstrate on the overhead how to discover the next number by counting by ones from 31 to 40 or ask students if they see a pattern and can predict the nest ten (40) and then count to see if they are correct.

20. Color the number 40 on the overhead.

21. Ask the students if they recognized the same number as the teacher.

22. Ask if anyone has a question.

23. Identify the other numbers you say when counting by tens. Let the students work independently. The teacher is to give no help unless a student is really stuck. Circulate and observe as students work. Ask students to count by 10s aloud when they have finished their charts. (Students may use the chart although choral counting aloud will give them practice so that they can do it without the chart.)

24. Color these numbers with the red crayon.

25. Complete the hundreds chart, turn in to teacher when finished.

26. Evaluate the hunderds chart of each student.

27. When all is completed then we play a counting game. We go around the room and a student starts at 40 and the next student would count by 10s to the next number. At the end, do some choral counting by 10s for practice.

28. A little later or the next day, give students a blank chart and ask them to count by 10s and color in those numbers on the chart. Individually assess if students can count aloud by 10s to 100.


Observe for the following:

- The student understands and applies the concept of counting by tens aloud.
- Completed the hundreds chart correctly and without prompting.
- Demonstrates the understanding of counting by tens by coloring the correct numbers.
- Listens attentively and is involved in the class discussion by offering solutions.

Students may need much practice and feedback before mastering this skill.

Web Links

This site has helpful information and examples for counting.

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