Recognizing to 20 on bead strings
Recognizing to 20 on bead strings

Recognizing to 20 on bead strings

Recognizing to 20 on bead strings

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Students explore bead strings and recognize the numbers 1-20 on bead strings.

Common core standard(s)



Explain that it is important to recognize numbers on bead strings because they can calculate faster. They don't need to count every bead to recognize which number is being asked.


Show the soccer field on the interactive whiteboard and say that the placement is not complete yet. The shirts with numbers 1-10 need to be at the front, and the shirts with 11-20 need to be midfield. Drag the numbers to the correct spots. Next, show the bead string on the interactive whiteboard and ask which number the question mark indicates.


Discuss what a bead string looks like. Show that there are twenty beads on the string, in groups of five red and five white beads. Using the bead strings, show how to discover which number the question mark indicates. Show that the question mark is further than five red and five white beads, and that is 10 beads. Then show that there are three more red beads before we reach the question mark. You count 3 more beads to the 10 you already had, and combined it is 13 beads. After this, ask students if they know which number the question mark indicates. They can choose from a number of options. After this practice, students then need to write down the number without any suggested answers.

Check to see if students recognize numbers to 20 on bead strings by asking the following questions:
What does a bead string look like?
How do you know which number a question mark indicates on a bead string?
Are there more red beads or white beads on a bead string, or are there the same amounts?

Guided Practice

Students first do an exercise with four options as answers. After this exercise they are asked to write the down answers by themselves without any example answers.


Check that students know that bead strings are made up of multiple groups of five red and five white beads. Emphasize that it is useful to recognize numbers on a bead string to make calculation faster. To close the lesson, practice by using true and false. Show a number on the bead string and say a number. This spoken number can be true or false. Students have to indicate if the number said is true or false in relation to the number you are showing on the bead string. Repeat this a few times.

Teaching Tip

Students who have difficulty recognizing numbers to 20 on the bead strings often also have difficulty counting to 20. Ask these students to use the bead string to count to 20 counting the beads one by one.

Instruction materials

20-bead strings

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