EL Support Lesson

Counting Dots

In this fast-paced lesson plan, students will practise their addition skills while working on their collaboration and listening abilities. It can be taught as a stand alone or support lesson for the Simple Addition to 10 lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theSimple Addition to 10Lesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theSimple Addition to 10Lesson plan.

Students will be able to solve addition problems within 10.


Students will be able to explain how to solve addition equations using drawings or pictures.

(2 minutes)
Teach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceVocabulary Cards: Counting DotsGlossary: Counting Dots
  • Gather the class together.
  • Display two group of items (e.g., coins) and say, "I wonder how many I have in all."
  • Ask, "What can I do to find out how many coins I have altogether?"
(10 minutes)
  • Use a think aloud to model your problem solving process by saying something like, "First I should count each group. One, two, three. My first group has three coins. One, two, three, four. My second group has four coins. Next I can write the numbers down to keep track, 3 + 4 =____ and then I can count them altogether to find my total."
  • Point to the equation and say, "This is called a number sentence. It uses special maths symbols to help us read and solve addition or problems to find out how many things there are in all."
  • Using the vocabulary cards, introduce the parts of the number sentence by having students repeat the word after you and making each sign with their arms.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that next they will practise making addition equations using a fun game!
  • Model how to play the game with a student partner.
    • Each partner rolls a die.
    • Partner A counts out the number of dots on their dice and places the same number of dot stickers in the first box of their number sentence, then Partner B does the same using the second box.
    • Both partners count the dots together to find the total number of dots, then Partner A writes the total in the last box.
    • Repeat.
  • Play 1–2 rounds as a whole class to check for understanding.
(10 minutes)
  • Pair students with a partner and pass out materials to each pair.
  • Send students to work independently.


  • Work with a small group of students in a teacher-led group to create and solve addition problems.
  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).


  • Have students create addition equations with sums greater than 10 for a partner to solve.
  • Encourage students to explain different problem-solving strategies to their peers.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room to assess if students are able to create and solve addition equations.
  • Observe student conversations and record ideas and discussions on a process chart (e.g., I think we should each count our items first, then count them altogether).
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together.
  • Provide examples you noticed students using to solve their equations and to keep track while counting (number line, pointing to each dot).

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