Numbers 1 – 999

Appetizer 2-4 / CARDINAL NUMBERS / Day 1 of 1


  • To introduce or see how well students know the numbers from 1 to 999,999,999
  • To point out some tips on how to pronounce them well and have the students practice the numbers
  • To increase the students’ confidence in their use of the numbers



Intro to chart

Grouping numbers



Students practice in pairs


Future classes

Some pointers


Beginner to intermediate +


15 – 20 minutes


  • Board, screen or flip chart
  • Handouts for class:
    HO8  9 rows of numbers


– Note 1
– Note 2


Class Plan


The idea is to ask a number of students to say the numbers you are progressively pointing to on Handout #8 in a way that everyone can see.  This is to provide a clear model of what they will later be expected to do and to clarify any doubts they may have about how to say the numbers.  How quickly or gradual you present the numbers depends much on the level of the class you are addressing.


Number chart for practicing saying numbers

A STEP 1      1 – 999     HOW TO APPROACH BOTTOM 3 ROWS                        NUMBERS 1-999
a) Go to one student, bring HO8 (Handout #8) and using a pen, point to number one in the bottom row to elicit ‘1’ from that student.
b) Go to the next student, point to number two and elicit ‘2’.
c) Continue with more students until ‘9’.
d) To elicit ‘10’ from the next student, tap number ‘1’ in the second last row and ‘0’ in the bottom row.  (The students should be able to figure it out from the build-up you have been presenting.)
e) For the following student, point (tap) your pen to the ‘1’ in the second last row and then the ‘1’ in the last row, eliciting ‘11’.  Continue with a few more examples (12, 13, 14,…), then try new combinations.  For example, for one student point out ‘24’ and the next ‘86’.
f) -optional-  You may want to ask one student two ‘similar’ numbers like 13 & 30 and continue with the other students (14 & 40 etc).  There is an audio below if you’d like to later direct their attention to listening and repeating those tricky pairings if they do have some difficulty with them.
g) Coming to the close of this part of the presentation, for the next three students, indicate ‘98’, ‘99’, and ‘100’ (tapping a ‘1’ in the third last row, and the two zeroes in the bottom two rows).
h) Try a few more combinations using 3 digits such as 111, 115, 550, or 678 before you introduce the sequence of 998, 999 and 1,000.  (1,000 is indicated by tapping ‘1’ in the bottom row of the middle group of 3 rows followed by the three zeroes in the lower 3 rows.)
i) If the class is a low level one which needs time to assimilate the information, then skip the instructions in the next step and go directly to Part B where the students practice only one group of 3 rows (numbers 1 – 999, nothing higher).  When they are ready, perhaps in a future class, proceed with Part A, STEP 2 where they learn how to deal with the higher numbers.


Students listen to and repeat the numbers

30, 13     40, 14     50, 15     60, 16     70, 17     80, 18     90, 19

A STEP 2      1 – 999,999,999     USING ALL 3 GROUPS ON HO8                        NUMBERS 1-999
a) After presenting the numbers 1 – 999, introduce the students to numbers up to 999,999.  For the lower levels I recommend spending a little more time here to anticipate some doubts a few students might have.  Try:

1,000     9,000     10,000     100,000     11,000     110,000     111,000     111     111,111
222     222,222     333,333     123,123     123,456     999,999

After these (or other) examples, you can elicit or point out that if somebody can say a three-digit number (ex: 567), they can just as easily say a six-digit number (567,567) or a nine-digit number (567,567,567) as you would say it in the same way, but inserting the words thousand or million when appropriate.

b) -optional-  If it is a lower level class and they need more time to assimilate, then have them practice in pairs as explained in Part B, but only with numbers from 1 – 999,999.
c) Now jump to 1,000,000, followed by 1,000,001     1,000,002      1,111,111     111,000,000     111,111,111
222,222,222     456,456,456     and     999,999,999     (Ask different students each time as you did before)
d) Write the number 987,987,987 on the board and elicit the spelling.  (This provides a clear reference to some potential doubts they may have.)  Here is one way you could write it:


987,987,987 nine hundred and eighty-seven  million
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –   thousand
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
e) Respond to any questions and remind them that the spoken and written ‘and’ follows the hundreds, not the thousands (as in two thousand find hundred and sixty-seven).  The dotted lines on the handout refer to millions and thousands and mark off those corresponding groups of numbers.



Number chart for practicing saying numbers

B 1 STEP      TEACHER/STUDENT     PAIRWORK PRACTICE                       NUMBERS 1-999
a) Have one student ask you one or two numbers (from one to nine digits long) on the handout.
b) Point out that it shouldn’t be a memory exercise, tapping out a difficult set of numbers to remember (such as 285,691,374).  Use the same number or simple sequences like 888,888,888 or 123,123,123.
c) Put the students into pairs and give each a copy of HO8.  If there is an odd number of students, have one ‘teacher’ and two ‘students’, but the teacher alternates the numbers between the two students to keep them both actively involved.
d) Tell each teacher to point out numbers five or six times, then change roles with the student.  They continue practicing and changing roles until you have had a chance to monitor each group, making sure they understand the expectations as well as saying the numbers correctly.
e) To end the activity, follow it up with a brief summary of their progress, pointing out issues that arose like incorrect or unclear pronunciation, confusion between hundred & thousand, and when to say ‘and’.


C 1 STEP      SOME POINTERS                                                                         NUMBERS 0-999
Once the students know how to use the number chart, it becomes easy to use it in future classes.  If the class is at a low level, they will likely need further practice to strengthen their understanding and use.  For somewhat higher levels you can go through the examples and points at a faster pace.  For low or intermediate levels, intermittently use this activity (the teacher/student pair-work activity using HO8) on occasion in future classes just so they don’t forget some of the points and they can work on better fluency.


A few points:

Pronunciation in groups of 3
Remind them that if they can say a 3-digit number, they can just as easily say a 9-digit one.  They work in the same way and the students don’t have to be intimidated by that long string of numbers.  Just break the number down into the 3-digit groups.

They should work on their fluidity, saying the words with an easy and confident rhythm and not hesitating too much between the digits that make up the complete number.

Stress in pronunciation
The first number of each grouping of three is usually given a little extra emphasis so ask the students to show that while saying the numbers.  Example:  EIGHT hundred and sixty-seven thousand, TWO hundred and forty-five.

Singular form for adjectives
These numbers are typically used in a way similar to adjectives.  This means there are no plural forms.  (You can’t say browns eyes.  Only brown eyes.  It’s the same with numbers.  There are two million mosquitoes not two millions mosquitoes.)

Thousands vs ten thousands
It is possible to use a plural form if those numbers are used as nouns and not as adjectives.  In this case they refer to general quantities, to give the listener or reader a ballpark figure as to how many people wear glasses, went to the concert, etc.  For example:  There were millions, thousands, hundreds of thousands, tens of millions, dozens of birds, trees, reasons, or any other plural countable noun.  It’s important to remember that these are not specific numbers, just a general idea to communicate to another person.

CORRECT:      There were thousands of people.   There were thousands.    There were eight thousand people.
INCORRECT:  There were thousand of people.     There were thousand.     There were eight thousands people.
ALSO CORRECT:  There were a thousand people.     There were a thousand.
INCORRECT:         There were a thousands.

Handouts for APP 2-4     Numbers 1 – 999

Handout 8
Grouped Numbers

Part A

Part B