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Formation of Numbers

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A tray with golden beads – 9 units, 9 tens, 9 hundreds and 1 thousand. 
A set of large number cards from 1 to 1000. 
3 small trays with small dishes. 
2 rugs. 


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. 
  2. Ask the child to place two large rugs on the floor, at a distance from each other.  
  3. Show the child the “9 tray” and ask him to bring it to a rug.  
  4. Ask the child to place the tray at the top of the rug, and sit at the opposite end of the rug, so that the rug is longer than it is wide. 
  5. Starting with the unit beads, place the beads one at a time on the top right of the rug, counting them as you go down, forming a column of beads 1 – 9.  
  6. To the left of the units, count the tens, one at a time, forming a column. “One ten, two tens, three tens.” 
  7. Repeat this process for hundreds, to the left of the tens, and the thousands, to the left of the hundreds.  
  8. Show the child the box that holds the large number cards 1 – 1000. 
  9. Ask him to bring the cards to the other rug which is at a distance.  
  10. Place the cards on the rug in the same formation as the beads, in columns, units on the right, etc. and count them as you place them. 
  11. “There are a lot more numbers, but these cards stop at 1000.” 
  12. Ask the child to get a math tray and to come to you by the rug with the cards. 
  13. Place a number card on the tray and ask the child to bring that number of beads back. (the specific category doesn’t matter, it could be a card from the units, tens, hundreds, or thousands.) 
  14. Wait for the child to come back to you with the beads on the tray.  
  15. Together, count the beads. If it’s correct, place the card on top of the beads, and say the number again. 
  16. Casually say the proper name of numbers, such as “thirty” instead of “three tens.” 
  17. Take the card off the beads and place it back on the rug.  
  18. “Can you put the beads back and then come and see me? I’ll give you a new number!” 
  19. Continue this process until the child tires, then clean up. 
  20. On another day, switch the roles of the materials, and place the beads on the tray and ask the child to go to the rug to find the corresponding card.


Exercise 1, independently as presented. 
Exercise 2, Formation of Numbers.  
  1. You can place more than one number card on the tray, such as 1000, 200, 40, and 7. 
  2. Place them randomly on the tray and ask the child to bring that number of beads. 
  3. When the child returns to you, ask him how many he brought, and count with him. 
  4. Place the cards on top of their corresponding beads to confirm that they are correct. 
  5. Then place the cards on top of each other aligned to the left, so that only the thousand’s spot is occupied. 
  6. Slowly slide them to the right, which shows that the zeros are now occupied. 
  7. It would go from “7000” to “1247.” Finally, say “You brought 1247 beads!”

Direct Purpose

To make the child familiar with the different categories of numbers, especially when reading. 
To give the wording for reading large numbers.  

Indirect Purpose

To learn the hierarchy of numbers, that the volume relates to the place; 7, 70, 700, 7000. 
To appreciate that zero simply shows an empty category.   
To show that with only 9 symbols and zero, that’s all you need to know to form any number. 

Control of Error

Child’s ability to count quantities and read symbols.   


4 1/2


The introduction to the decimal system cards are large cards 1 – 9000, while these cards are only 1 – 1000. 
This lesson associates quantity and number. 
The child sees a lot of patterns with this material.  

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