Even and Odd Numbers: Lesson Plans and Sample Problems

Understanding the difference between even and odd numbers is a basic skill that's typically introduced in second grade. However, it is a skill that's used throughout high school to factor numbers, answer many algebra equations and solve trigonometric functions.

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Activities and Problems for Teaching Odd and Even Numbers

Lesson Plan

Below are several potential approaches for engaging students in the lesson, reinforcing the instruction through hands-on activities and ways to end class. You can mix and match parts from each section to meet the needs of the students in your class.

Goal

The goal of a lesson in even and odd numbers is to teach the children which numbers are even and which are odd. By the end of the lesson, students should be able to decipher between even and odd numbers on their own.

Introduction to the Lesson

The beginning of a lesson should capture the students' attention. There are many fictional stories about numbers, so read a story such as:

  • The Crayon Counting Book by Pam Munoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta
  • Even Steven and Odd Todd by Kathryn Cristaldi
  • Odd and Even Socks by Melanie Chrismer

Another approach is to activate the students' prior knowledge. Ask them what the word 'odd' means. Then, give an example of 'odd' objects, like bugs or socks. After the children have that concept in mind, ask them how a number could be considered odd. This question can intrigue second graders and will get them interested in the lesson.

Activities

Choose one or two activities that will give students a concrete experience with even and odd numbers. Hands-on activities can be especially helpful for children at this age because it allows them a chance to get up and move around.

Dice Throw
In groups or on their own, have students roll dice and identify if the number rolled is even or odd. Because this activity involves dice, kids may be more engaged and think of it as a game.
Counting Objects
Count the objects in the classroom, such as students, chairs, books, pictures or pencils. After counting, ask if the total is even or odd.
Grouping Numbers
Provide the students with note cards that have numbers written on them. Then, have your students group the cards into piles of even and odd numbers.
Discovering Rules
Instead of directly teaching the addition rule for adding odd and even numbers, have the students discover the rule on their own using objects. Give each student a random amount of unit blocks (or beans, buttons or whatever you select). Ask them to line the objects up in two rows. If the total number of objects is even, the rows will have the same number of objects (although the rows themselves may contain either an even or odd number of objects); if the total number is odd, one row will have an extra object.
Be sure that the students figure out that if the rows have the same number of objects (either even or odd), the total number of objects will be even. However, if the rows don't have the same number of objects (i.e., one row has an extra object) the total number of objects will be odd.

Practicing Odd and Even Numbers

Worksheets can provide excellent practice for students. To create your own worksheet, write a list of numbers and ask the students to circle the odd numbers and underline the even numbers. Alternatively, provide pictures of different items and ask students to identify whether there's an odd or even number of them.

Word problems are always helpful for students because they connect the concepts learned in school with the outside world. Use real-world examples of odd and even numbers. For example, there are six people walking down the street. Is there an odd or even number of shoes?

Summary

Summarizing is a way to reinforce what has been learned at the end of a lesson. Different methods include:

Discussion
Discuss how the children might describe an even number or an odd number. If they are still uncertain or confused about these numbers, this is a good time to review and clear up confusion.
Music
Have the students sing a song about odd and even numbers, such as a parody of Old McDonald Had a Farm.
Dramatic counting
Have the children count from zero to nine (or 19 or 29 or however far you wish to go). Even numbers can be spoken in a high, squeaky voice and odd numbers in a deep voice. Then skip count, again using a special voice for each kind of number.
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