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Naturally Nubby Numerals

Create numbers with personality! Design Model Magic® phone numbers, birth dates, and zip codes.

  • Grade 1
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to talk about how they share messages using numbers, pictures, art, and words formed with letters. Find examples of how personality can be reflected through shapes, colors, textures, and decorations. Share several photographs with them that are especially expressive. Ask students to talk about the messages they get from these photographs.
    2. Working individually or in teams of two, ask students to choose several descriptive words about their personalities and interests. Then select a series of numerals that have personal significance, such as a birthday or telephone number. Have them write these with Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons on an individual white board.
    3. With Crayola Model Magic, students experiment with mixing colors that express those personal characteristics. Knead it a bit before beginning to work. Demonstrate how to blend white and colored compound to create tints, or mix colors and black to make shades. Blend two primary colors (red, yellow, blue) together to produce a secondary hue (orange, green, violet). Create a marble effect by incompletely blending different colors.
    4. Challenge students to consider how shapes can also communicate personality. For example, uneven or rough shapes are different from tidy, geometric shapes. What shape conveys personal characteristics?
    5. Students model numerals by hand. Or roll out the Model Magic on a sheet of wax paper and cut the numeral shapes out with a craft stick. Add decorative items such as beads, ribbon, or natural materials to add texture and character to the numbers. Embed these in the Model Magic while it is still damp. Allow Model Magic t air-dry overnight.
    6. Provide time in the school day for students to share their letters and numbers with small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

    LA: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.

    LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    MATH: Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).

    MATH: Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Numbers by Max Lucado; One Is a Drummer: A Book of Numbers by Roseanne Thong; The Big Storm: A Very Soggy Counting Book by Nancy Tafuro

    Encourage students to create a set of the first ten digits on the number line, as well as zero. Have students use their Nubby Numerals to answer simple addition and subtraction word problems posed by the teacher or another adult.

    Working in small groups, with the assistance of an adult, students create original word problems that require addition or subtraction in order to find a solution. Students audio-record their original problems and upload these files to a classroom computer. Play the recordings and have members of the class find solutions.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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