Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Ten Little Indians Count

Patricia Hope


Did you ever have fun blowing feathers in the air? This activity is a fun, hands-on activity that uses a Thanksgiving theme to incorporate one-to-one counting to 10.


The student counts up to 10 or more objects using verbal names and one-to-one correspondence.


- Feathers (10 for each child – feather dusters make quick inexpensive feathers)
- Paper bag containing additional feathers for children to blow in the air
- One sentence strip per child
- Markers
- Tape
- Stapler
- Record with song [Ten Little Indians], or sing without record (see associated file)


1. Gather materials for activity.
2. Organize materials to be ready for easy distribution


1. Ask students, can you guess what I am holding in this bag? Elicit responses from class. Open the bag and let a few feathers fly around the room. Let students blow the feathers and try to keep them in the air.

2. Explain that today, the class is going to use feathers to learn to count to l0.

3. Ask students if they can think of anything we have studied at Thanksgiving that has feathers.

4. Ask students if they can think of any people that we have studied at Thanksgiving that use feathers as part of their apparel. (Indians)

5. Tell students to hold up 2 hands and proceed to sing [Ten Little Indians], holding up one finger for each Indian, putting up one finger at a time as the last verse of the song is sung from 10 backwards.

6. Choose 10 quiet students to come and sit in a row in front of the class. They will sit with their arms crossed like Indians. The class will now sing [Ten Little Indians]. One Indian at a time will rise as the class sings the song. As the verse in the song goes backward, the Indians will sit down, one Indian at a time.

7. Ask students if they would like to make an Indian headband with real feathers.

8. Ask students to return to their tables. Make sure that sentence strips, feathers, markers, and tape are available at each table.

9. Ask students to color sentence strips in an Indian design, count out 10 feathers and tape them on.

10. Staple each headband to fit the individual student.

11. Monitor each student’s progress and provide feedback as needed.

12. Ask students to return to group area, wearing Headbands, and sing [Ten Little Indians] again, as in steps 5 and 6.


Students produce a Indian headband that has 10 feathers.

Formatively assess the headband by:
1. Confer with students who do not have 10 feathers
2. Provide corrective feedback in counting feathers
3. Give students opportunity to revise headband


This activity can be extended during the Thanksgiving Season by using the following activities:

1. Make turkey cookies. Let students frost a sugar cookie. Place a Nutter Butter Cookie in the middle of the frosted sugar cookie for the turkey’s head. Put a dot of frosting where the turkey’s beak should be and attach one candy corn. Place two dots of frosting where the eyes should be and place two miniature M & M’s. Students then count out ten candy corn pieces and place them around the edge of the frosted cookie for turkey feathers.
2. Make pasta necklaces. Students count out 10 colored rigatoni pasta and string them together for Indian necklaces. Pasta can be colored by placing pasta in a ziplock bag with food coloring and alcohol. Shake pasta until it is coated evenly and arrange on newspaper to dry.

Attached Files

This document contains an associated file called [Ten Little Indians]     File Extension: pdf

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