5 Ways to Teach Odd and Even Numbers!

Do some of your kids struggle to identify odd and even numbers?  Oddly enough, this concept can be tricky for some children to master, even though it should be completely obvious! (Wink, wink!) Here are five easy ways to teach odd and even numbers!

1. Line the Children Up in Pairs

It is easiest for the kids to understand what an odd number is FIRST by lining them up by twos.  If you have an odd number of children in the class, one of your students will not have a partner, leaving someone as the “odd man out.”  Once I did this with my students, the children who were unclear on even and odd numbers suddenly understood the whole thing:  in an even number, everyone gets a buddy.  In an odd number, one person is left without a buddy.

2. Explain the Concept and Sing it

Our Musical Math Volume 2 Video Collection has a song called ‘Odds and Evens’ that explains this exactly in the lyrics.  Not only that, but both my first and second graders LOVED this song last year!  🙂

Even numbers, even numbers,
Even numbers, shout them out!
2, 4, 6, 8, 10!
Line them up by twos, and then,
All the evens have a friend!
2, 4, 6, 8, 10!
All the evens have a friend.
Odd numbers, odd numbers,
Odd numbers, shout them out!
1, 3, 5, 7, 9!
When you try to group by twos,
There’s an extra you can’t use.
1, 3, 5, 7, 9!
Odd man out, no friend in line.

This song from HeidiSongs’ Musical Math Vol. 2 is very helpful in teaching kids the difference between odd and even numbers!

3. Review it Daily with the Calendar

I use an Odds and Evens cube holder with my calendar to review this concept! I found it at a math conference years ago. But even without the holder, you could have the kids tell you each day if the number of the day was odd or even. You could mark it or indicate it somehow on your calendar as well. In this case, we just write the numbers on the unifix cubes with a permanent marker, and then each day, ask the children if the numbers are odd or even. Then, we add them to the holder. The kids can easily see if the number has a partner or not.  It’s a great little tool!

 This unique little gadget came from ClassroomStorageSupplies.com, but they have either moved their website or have gone out of business! I found a somewhat similar unifix cube holder here.

4. Sing the “Count by Twos Song” and Write Those Numbers!

I always used to tell my kids that if we used the number when we counted by twos, it had to be an even number. Then we would sing the song and try to stop and write those numbers on our dry-erase boards! That last step is very helpful because it connects the song to the written number! This song is in our Musical Math Vol. 1 Collection!


5. Try some Hidden Odds and Evens Worksheets!

These Hidden Odds and Evens Worksheets are a new addition to our Hidden Worksheet Collection, and I’ve been trying them out this last school year.  I made them when I saw that my first graders needed more practice.  (My second graders were a high enough group that they didn’t need this extra reinforcement, thank goodness!)  They only started to get confused about the numbers in the hundreds and thousands, not those with only one or two digits.  The numbers on these worksheets only have two-digit numbers.

I wondered if these would be too easy for the children, but as you can see in the picture below, that wasn’t the case.  There were a few bright children who didn’t get it, even though I would think that the clues to the answer would make it all really quite obvious!

As you can see above, we also did a few worksheets with pictures, just for fun, in addition to the ones with the number words. The pages with images include a clown car, seals, balls, umbrellas, a raccoon, a turtle, a ladybug, an igloo, a rabbit with some eggs, and some cupcakes!

I hope your kids enjoy these!


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