WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – Counting, Whole Numbers, Texture

Students create a sensory counting board of a number of their choice, and use it to practice counting.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 2


Visual Arts


colour crayon resist number numeral texture


Crayons Watercolour Paints White Glue Paint Brushes Embellishments Cardstock Paper - 21.25 cm x 27.5 cm (8.5" x 11") Glitter Glue


WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – Counting, Whole Numbers, Texture - Step One

Step One

  1. Draw the number on the cardstock paper using Crayola Washable glue.
  2. Allow it to dry for several hours.
WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – Counting, Whole Numbers, Texture - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Use white and coloured crayons to draw designs on the paper. Press hard with the crayon.
WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – Counting, Whole Numbers, Texture - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Cover the whole paper with watercolour paint.
  2. Notice how the white crayon shows through the paint. 
WHAT’S IN A NUMBER? – Counting, Whole Numbers, Texture - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Count sets of embellishments to match your number.
  2. Glue the sets inside the number. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Create a counting board for a specific whole number;
  2. Create sets of objects to match a number;
  3. Create a crayon resist painting;
  4. Use a variety of materials to create texture; and
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  1. Gather and sort items by colour and place them in separate containers.
  2. Use the items to create an artwork that represents a whole number.
  3. Share their thinking with peers.
  4. Draw their creations.


  1. Prior to this lesson have children gather and sort items and place them in different containers.
  2. Make a math centre with number cards and the sorted materials.
    Provide time for students to practice making sets of numbers of things from the sorted materials.
    - Have them choose a number card, and make a set to match it and then draw the set, or take a photo with a device.
    - Display the drawings and photos and invite students to talk about them amongst themselves. 
  3. Gather, and make available, books about counting and numbers, for example, 1-2-3 Peas, by Keith Baker; Ten Apples Up On Top!; by Dr. Seuss; Zero, by Kathryn Otoshi; One, by Kathryn Otoshi; Two, by Kathryn Otoshi; Doggy Kisses 123, by Todd Parr.
  4. Depending on your students, you may decide to draw the numbers on the cardstock paper ahead of time. It is a good idea to do them one day, and use them the next so they can dry overnight. If your students will be drawing their own glue number, set up a centre where they can take turns doing it before you begin the crayon resist painting.
  5. You may want to do a sample to share with your students.


  1. Have a basket of objects sorted into sets and number cards for each set.
    - Ask a student to count one of the sets, placing the set on the floor and touching each item as they count.
    - Ask the class how many items are in that set.
    - Ask a student to choose the number card that goes with that set and place it with the set.
    - Repeat for several more sets.
  2. Talk about how much fun it is to count things.
  3. Ask what their favourite numbers are, and why.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a counting board for a specific whole number.
  2. Create sets of objects to match a number.
  3. Create a crayon resist painting.
  4. Use a variety of materials to create texture.
  5. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    ​- crayon design shows through the paint
    - lots of different items are used to make sets of the number
    - the sets have the correct number of items to match the number
    - paper is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. When all the number boards are complete have children work in pairs comparing numbers and taking turns counting the various sets on their number boards.
  2. Have students sort and arrange the class number boards in different orders, for example, from smallest number to largest; from largest number to smallest; all number boards that have 10 sets of items glued in the number; and so on.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the artworks – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Download - NumberB_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - NumberB_self-assessment.pdf)