Building Sets of Six

  • Building Sets of Six

    Let's Count to 10
    Grade: PreK to 2nd
    Periods: 1
    Author: Grace M. Burton


    Instructional Plan

    Start the lesson by reviewing the assignment from the end of the previous lesson, asking the students what they found at home that came in sets of two, three, four, and five. Then show the students an egg carton that you have cut in half or a muffin tin with six cups. Call on a volunteer to place one connecting cube in each cup, counting aloud as he or she does so. Then ask the student to tell how many connecting cubes were used. [Six.] Empty the muffin tin and repeat with other volunteers. Now assign the students to pairs, and give each pair one number cube and some connecting cubes. Ask the students to take turns rolling the number cube and making a train with the number of cubes that corresponds to the number on the number cube. (Begin a new train after each roll of the die.)

    1626 image 3.1a

    After the pairs of students have completed many trains, ask them to take the train they last completed and compare it with someone else's (from another pair) by holding the two trains together and counting to verify if one has more, less or if they are equal. Then ask the students which train has more cubes in it. (If the trains are of equal length, help students understand that neither train has more or less than the other.) Encourage several pairs of students to tell the whole group how their trains compared. Then have them compare a train of five cubes with a train of six cubes.

    Now display Numeral Card 6 and ask the students to look at it. Turn your back to the students and trace a "6" in the air, then encourage them to make a large 6 in the air with you. You may wish to put words to the actions you use to make the numeral 6. (See the previous lesson in this unit, Writing Numerals to Five, for how to do this to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".) Now have volunteers write "6" in the sand, on the rice tray, or on the board. Remind the students to go to the numeral writing station during the day to practice writing "6."

    pdficonNumeral Cards

    Next give the students a copy of the 10 Frame Activity Sheet, and have them place six connecting cubes in it. Ask them to count aloud as they do so.

    pdficon10 Frame Activity Sheet

    1626 image 3.2a

    Students may also use the Ten Frame Tool to explore numbers up to 10.

    appicon Ten Frame Tool

    Give the students their Steps to 10 Activity Sheet, begun in Lesson One. Ask them to find the column headed with "6" and fill in six boxes in that column, starting at the bottom.

    pdficonSteps to 10 Activity Sheet

    When the students are done, ask them to show their charts. Collect the charts so they will be available for future lessons.

    So that students can record their learning, provide each student with a copy of Showing Sets of 6 and two crayons, each a different color.

    pdficonShowing Sets of 6 Activity Sheet

    1626 image 3.4a

    Ask them to color exactly six boxes in each row, using two crayons to do so. (If the students need assistance, you may ask them to make trains in the two colors first, then copy the trains on the sheet with crayons.) Then ask the students to write the number of boxes of each color that appears in each row of six boxes. Encourage them to color the boxes a different way each time. (Some students will find this difficult to understand, and you may need to model this for them.) When they have finished, ask them to share what they have done with the class and to take the sheet home to share with their family.

    Alternatively, or in addition to the above activities, students can work (either individually or in pairs) to review the numbers 1 through 6 by using the Concentration interactive.

    appicon Concentration

    To do so, students should select 1-6 under Levels, and either 1 or 2 players. In this activity, students match the numerals (1-6) with other representations explored in this unit. This is a good "checkpoint" activity which allows students to self-assess before continuing with the other lessons in this unit.


    • Baratta-Lorton, Mary. Mathematics Their Way. Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison-Wesley, 1974.
    • Burton, Grace M. Towards a Good Beginning: Teaching Early Childhood Mathematics. Menlo Park, Calif.: Addison-Wesley, 1985.

    Assessments and Extensions

    Assessment Option

    Use the teacher resource sheet, Class Notes, to document your observations about the students' abilities to do the following:

    • Construct groups of six objects
    • Compare groups of up to five objects with a group of six objects
    • Identify and write the numeral 6
    • Record a group of six items


    Move on to the next lesson, Building Sets of Seven.

    Questions and Reflections

    Questions for Students

    1. What number did we talk about today?

    [We talked about the number six.]

    2. Can you count to six? What number did you say just before six?

    [The number five]

    3. Show me a train with six cubes. How can you tell that your train and your partner's train have the same number of cubes?

    [We can place the trains next to each other to see if they are the same length. We can count the number of cubes in each train.]

    4. Show me a train of five cubes and a train of six cubes. Which train has more?

    [The train with six cubes has more.]

    5. How can you tell?

    [The train with six is longer.]

    6. How many more? (Encourage the students to line up the trains and match the cubes in them.)

    [It has 1 more cube.]

    7. Make a "10" Frame for five. How can you change it to show six?

    [I can add 1 more block.]

    8. How can you change a "10" Frame for six into a "10" Frame for five?

    [I can take one cube off.]

    9. What was one way you used two colors to color six boxes?

    [Possibly: I colored 3 boxes blue and 3 boxes orange.]

    10. Did anyone do it a different way?

    Teacher Reflection

    • For students who have not yet demonstrated that could construct sets of six with ease, what experiences do they need next?
    • For students who are not able to compare two sets and explain the relationship between the sets, what additional experiences are necessary?
    • Which students would benefit from additional instruction from adult volunteers?
    • What adjustments will I make the next time that I teach this lesson?

    Objectives and Standards

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • Construct groups of six objects.
    • Identify and write the numeral 6.
    • Compare sets of up to six objects.
    • Record a group of six items.
    Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

    Pre K to 2nd

    • Kindergarten
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
        Model with mathematics.
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
        Use appropriate tools strategically.

    Pre K to 2nd

    • Grade 1
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
        Model with mathematics.
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
        Use appropriate tools strategically.

    Pre K to 2nd

    • Grade 2
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
        Model with mathematics.
      • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
        Use appropriate tools strategically.
    Common Core State Standards – Practice
    • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
      Model with mathematics.
    • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
      Use appropriate tools strategically.

    Related Resources


    Building Numbers to Five

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Construct groups of zero to five objects.

    Writing Numerals to Five

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Write the numerals zero through five.

    Building Sets of Seven

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Construct and compare sets of up to seven objects.

    Building Sets of Eight

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Create representations of the number eight.

    Building Sets of Nine

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Identify sets of nine objects.

    Building Sets of Ten

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Explore 10 items.

    Building Sets of Ten: Wrapping Up the Unit

    Grade: PreK to 2nd

    Create, decompose, compare, and label sets of zero to 10 objects.