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Counting, and understanding the base-10 number system, is the foundation of our math system.  It is critical that our students learn to count well and automatically.  For students to excel in math, it is also important that they see the patterns in the number system.  When counting, it can be hard to remember that 40 comes after 39, but any student who understands how the number system works will know that 41 comes after 40.

Kindergarten students should be able to count to 30.  First graders should be able to count to 100.  Beyond 100, the patterns should take over for most students.  If you work with a student who seems unsure about the base-10 number pattern, please keep working on it.  For many students the process is easy and automatic.  For other students, the pattern can take years to be fully understood.  Be patient but keep counting.  Understanding how numbers work is critical for understanding how to add, subtract, regroup, etc. 

Children learn to count in stages.

  1. Start by counting orally. You will often use objects (manipulatives or fingers) for very early counting. 
  2. Move on to be able to count without objects.  Students should learn to hold their numbers in their head and see numbers abstractly. 
  3. Slowly integrate writing numbers as well.  Writing numbers, especially in a 100 grid, can help students to see the patterns.  Every row contains 10.  Every row ends on a multiple of 10.  The ones pattern repeats in every column (1, 11, 21, 31, etc.).
  4. Once students become good at counting, start having them count from random starting points.  When students are learning to count, this can be difficult.  Starting from 1 always seems easy!  But learning to count from other starting points is a critical part of learning to add.

The "Hundred Table" can help you provide support for students as they are learning to count, and help you show them the patterns.  Each row of 10 follows the same pattern!

The "Missing Number" worksheets below present random sets of numbers, but only ask students to fill in occasional numbers.  This is more advanced than counting from 1, but easier than the "counting" worksheets because they allow students to read numbers and pick up the counting pattern before they have to fill in numbers.

The "Counting" worksheets below ask students to write out numbers, starting at random points.  This is a more advanced stage of counting.

Practice Problems:

  • Counting Numbers

    1. Count from 1 to 10.
    2. Count from 1 to 20.
    3. Count from 1 to 30.
    4. Count from 4 to 17.
    5. Count from 12 to 31.
    6. Count from 92 to 105.
    7. Count from 189 to 203.
    8. Count from 647 to 661.
    9. Count from 994 to 1011.
    10. Count from 786 to 807.

    Answer Key:


Common Core Grade Level/Subject