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Bags of Stuff

Alignments to Content Standards: K.CC.A.3



  • 10-15 quart plastic bags of various counters (different numbers of counters in each bag)
  • A recording sheet for the activity with pictures of counters and lines for recording the total number of objects
  • A teacher completed recording sheet with the correct numbers written for each item



The students choose a bag they have not counted. They are given the directions to count the items in the bag and record the number on the line next to the picture of the item in the bag. The students will then check their answers against the teacher-prepared recording sheet. If the activity is done in committee, the teacher should ask each student, “How many (triangles) were in the bag?” If the activity is done daily, the teacher should ask four or five different students, “How many (triangles) were in the bag?” The process is repeated until time runs out or all bags of stuff have been counted.

IM Commentary

The purpose of this task is to give students an opportunity to count real objects and write numbers. This activity can become a daily 10 minute routine, with the students counting as many bags of “stuff” as they can in that time period. Students can also work together in pairs. Students should focus on the numerals 1-10 before continuing with numerals 11-20. A number line or chart could be made available for those students who need support.


  • The students count and record numbers 1-20.

  • The students become familiar with the number names 1-20.

  • The students check their answers against the teacher-prepared sheet.

  • The students answer the question as to how many items were in a bag.