Early Stage 1 whole numbers


Students can:

  • Use ordinal names for positional value of objects
  • Match ordinal names to images in a line
  • Describe the place of an item using ordinal names

Activities to support the strategies

Students at this stage need to have an understanding of number word sequence to 10 and beyond before they can understand ordinals. Students also need to be able to count forwards and backwards between 1-10.

Some activities that support this stage of learning include:

Activity 1 – ice-cream scoop counting

Provide students with images of an ice-cream cone and three different scoops of ice-cream. Allow time for the students to colour in the cone and the ice-cream scoops. Make sure students use a different colour for each scoop of ice-cream. Student then build their ice-cream by pasting the cone on a sheet of paper and then pasting on each scoop of ice-cream.

Discussion questions should follow:

  • What flavour scoop did you add on first?
  • What flavour was second?
  • Can you point to the scoop you put on third?

Alternatively you could bring in cones and different flavoured ice-cream to the classroom and perform a demonstration for the class.

Activity 2 – teddy line-up

Students explore placing teddies in a line according to colour to match position.

The teacher provides the verbal instructions for students to follow:

  • There are four teddies in the line. The blue teddy is first, the yellow teddy is second, the green teddy is third and the red teddy is fourth.
  • Which teddy is in between the blue and the yellow teddy?
  • Which teddy is second from the front?

Alternatively, students can place a number of teddies in a line and the teacher or another student can ask the questions:

  • Which teddy is second in line? Which teddy is last?
  • Students can write sentences to describe the ordinal position of one or more teddies.


Australian curriculum reference: ACMNA001

Establish understanding of the language and processes of counting by naming numbers in sequences, initially to and from 20, moving from any starting point; ACMMG010 Describe position and movement

NSW syllabus reference: Mae-4NA

Whole Numbers: read and use the ordinal names to at least 'tenth'; Mae-16MG Position: describe the position of an object in relation to another object using everyday language, such as 'between', 'next to', 'behind' or 'inside', e.g. 'The book is inside the box'

Teacher resources

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