Recognizing to 30 on bead strings

Recognizing to 30 on bead strings

Recognizing to 30 on bead strings

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Recognizing to 30 on bead strings

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Students learn what bead strings are and can recognize numbers from 1-30 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 bead string on the interactive whiteboard and ask which number is being shown with the question mark. After they answer, erase the cover to check the answer. Next, show a few numbers on the interactive whiteboard. Point to a number and ask which number it is.


Explain how the bead string is put together and what it looks like. Show that the bead string has thirty beads, in groups of five red and five white beads. Use the bead string to demonstrate how to discover which number is being shown by the question mark. Explain that the question mark is further down the bead string and has passed multiple groups of red and white beads. Skip-count in fives until you have reached 25 beads. Next show that there are three more white beads before you reach the question mark. Count on from 25 counting 3 more beads, which brings you to 28. Next ask the students if they know which number the question mark shows on a few bead strings. They can choose from a few possible answers, but after these exercises, they must also write down their own answers.

Check that students can recognize numbers to 30 on bead strings by asking the following questions:
What does a bead string look like?
How do you know which number is being shown with a question mark on a bead string?
Are there more red beads or white beads on a bead string, or are there the same amounts?

Guided Practice

The students first practice an exercise with four possible answers given. Next they practice with exercises where they must come up with the answer individually.


Check that students understand that bead strings are made of multiple groups of five red and five white beads. Emphasize that it is useful to recognize numbers on a bead string to increase calculation speed. Finally show a selection of numbers where students need to select the matching bead string.

Teaching Tip

Students who have difficulties recognizing numbers on the bead strings often also have difficulty with counting to 30. These students can practice counting the beads one by one on the bead string to 30.

Instruction materials

30-bead strings

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