Meeting the Learning Outcomes


number sequences: move or dance while you are counting  recognize and name arrangements: arrange body parts or students into groupings relate numerals and quantity: use fingers, other body parts, or groups of students

  •   you or the students can make numeral flash cards and use them to stimulate movement games:

    • “Balance on as many body parts as the number that I hold up.”
    • “When the music stops,  form groups with the number of kids in it that you see on the numeral card that I hold up.”
    • “When I show you the numeral cards, hold up that many fingers. How many ways can you show this number using your fingers?”                     

compare quantities using one to one correspondence: use body parts or bodies

demonstrate an understanding of repeating patterns: create a pattern of students ie. boy-girl-girl, boy-girl-girl, etc. or wide body shape, narrow body shape,crooked body shape, wide, narrow, crooked, etc.

  • you can arrange the students in patterns and have them discern the pattern or ask them for ideas about what patterns to make
  • using repeating patterns of body shapes is a good way to help students create their own choreography


Grade 1

see above and add:

any time you want to represent something concretely, think of using students (each child represents 1, two students with linked arms represents 2, etc.)

skip counting:

  • when you skip count, you are preparing students for addition and multiplication. When you move while you skip count, the likelihood of the numbers staying in long term memory increases and you can get some of your Daily Physical Activity in
  • count by 2, 3, 5 and 10, forwards and backwards


Grade 2

 repeating patterns:

  •  create, compare, extend, describe
  • see ideas under ‘K’ (above) then think of some of your own

compare length, height, and distance:

  •  children move (in place or through space) until a drum beat or a pause in the music signals a ‘freeze’. Look at all the shapes and ask, “Which shape is the highest? widest? lowest?”
  • children form random lines by holding hands with others. Ask,”Which line is the longest?”

describe order using ordinal numbers up to tenth:

  •  after making a series of shapes to create a pattern, use the language of ordinals:
    • “What is the first shape that we made? What was the second?”, etc.

apply mental math strategies such as:

  • using doubles: “Hold up 1 hand. Now decide how many fingers you want to show your partner. Now hold up your other hand. What is a really easy way to double the number of fingers you are holding up?”
  • making ten: “Working in A/B partners, partner A decides how many fingers to touch to the desk. You can choose any number that is less than 10. Partner B now touches as many of her fingers to the desk to make the total number of fingers equal to 10. How can you check to be sure that both partners’ fingers touching the desk add up to 10?”
  • one more, one less: “Balance on 3 body parts. Add 1 more (or use 1 less) . How many body parts are touching the ground now?
  • two more, two less: Ask 3 students to stand up. “If 2 more students stand up, how many will be standing?” Then prove it by having 2 more stand and everyone counts together (more counting practice!). You could continue this until everyone is standing then begin subtracting students by asking them to sit down. This gets everyone moving; it is a good change from trying to sit still.

even and odd:

  •  when each body part or student has a partner, the number being represented is even. When there is a leftover with no partner, the number is odd.
  • there are many ways to show this by using bodies or body parts


Grade 3

Skip counting prepares students for multiplication. It helps them understand that multiplication is like repeated addition. The following suggestions are meant as starting points. Let your creativity (and the students’) guide you to more possibilities.

Keep in mind that crossing the mid-line of the body, both brain hemispheres are stimulated. This encourages whole brain learning.

  •  by 5: use an across the body gesture with the 5 fingers spread wide
  • by 10: chose a gesture that uses all 10 fingers or all 10 toes
  • by 100: “100 is a big number, let’s choose a big gesture.” 
  • by 25: use a “sing songy” voice and create a rhythm. You could do a gesture that moves up as you say 25 (low gesture), 50 (same gesture a bit higher on the body), 75 (higher), 100 (highest) and starts back where you were on 25 when you get to 125 (low), etc. Always try to show relationship when using patterns to teach math.
  • by 3: try touching right hand fingers to left elbow (whisper “1”), left hand fingers to right elbow (whisper “2”), right fingers to left elbow (loud “3” and pause for 1 beat), then repeat for (whisper) 4, 5, (loud) 6, etc.
  • by 4: because so much popular music is based on a 4/4 count, this could be put to music that the students love. Either you or the students can choose 4 gestures, movements, or body shapes and repeat them over and over as you all count. Try the whisper/ loud technique (see above- ‘by 3’). Every time you call out a multiple of 4, you will be making the same gesture and calling that number out in a loud voice.