Come Blast Off With Me!
My Y5 standards have students learning to count from 10 to 0; other states have kindergartners needing to count backwards from 20.
No matter what number you have to start from, here are a few tips to help you make that easy and fun!
I use counting backwards as a way to transition. Whenever I need my students to go from point A to point B, I tell them, “Let’s do it before I get to zero. Count down with me: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0!” They enjoy this, and scamper to achieve.
We countdown every time I have them line up. I also have my students countdown while we wait for children to finish up in the bathroom. We’ll countdown and clap, countdown in a whisper voice, countdown in a deep-monster voice, countdown and hop, countdown and balance on one foot, or countdown slowly and finish really fast.
Their favorite way to countdown is when they are gathered on the carpet. I have them pretend that they are rockets. They crouch down and then when we get to zero, they yell, “Blast off!” jumping as high into the air as they can. I tell them I’ll be watching for who jumps the highest. They are highly competitive and really want to be the highest “blaster rocket”.
Activities: Rocket Art Projects:
Since my students are also learning to identify and write numbers, as well as learning to count backwards, I combine learning all of these standards with 2 quick and easy rocket art projects. They can be found in my 50-page Fun Activities Countdown Booklet.
Blast Off Skill Sheets:
I also have them do several tracing countdown skill sheets, and “Zap” the numbers in sequential order in I Spy the number games as well. After we’ve traced/zapped all of the numbers, we countdown together and they “blast” out of their chairs.
To change things up a bit, they do a similar activity with bingo dot markers in an ABAB pattern. These countdown skill sheets are also found in the Fun Activities Countdown Booklet.
Blast Off Bookmarks:
I’ve also made horizontal countdown number line bookmarks for them. After students have traced the numbers, countdown as a whole group and blast off. Click on the link to view/print the Blast Off bookmarks
Use these number strips and have students glue them to party tweeters. I purchased jumbo ones at The Dollar Store.
It’s just another fun way to have students working with, and recognizing this number sequence.
You can also use these strips as an "I Spy!" game and give children a token or M&M to move down the line as they countdown. They can eat their treat to fuel their rockets, after they finish blasting off.
Blast Off Games:
Blast Off! Is a spinner game using a brass brad and paperclip. Children play with a partner and take their rocket to the moon counting down as they go. This game is also in the Fun Activities Booklet.
Another fun game your students will enjoy playing is Sequence Yourself. Print off and laminate the “Blast Off” cards.
Cut them out and pass out numbers 20 to 0 or 10 to 0 depending on your standard. Since children enjoy picking a card and holding it, I’ve included “Blast Off!” cards as well as rocket cards.
Set a timer for 5-minutes and instruct your students to get into “Blast off” order starting with 20 or 10.
Everyone else remains seated holding their blast off or rocket card. Children are all in a crouching position.
Begin the countdown. The student holding that card bounces up, then the next, ‘til you get to zero and then everyone still remaining crouched, jumps up as everyone yells “Blast off!”
Click on the link to view/print the Blast off cards.
Blast Off Booklets:
I’ve included covers for the cards incase you want to run off copies so that your students can make an Itty Bitty Blast Off book. Click on the link to view/print a copy of the traceable Blast Off cards.
These cards come from the 25-page Come Blast Off With Me! booklet packet. It’s an adorable easy reader that students enjoy making. They choose a rocket, fellow astronaut friend, planet, and even a new alien friend! It also includes 6 graphing extensions for math fun.
Blast Off Certificate:
Finally, give everyone a certificate of praise to encourage their efforts. Click on the link to view/print a copy.
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As always if you have a tip for teaching your students how to count backwards, I’d enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org