Maths Without Limits
Opening Young Minds to Endless Possibilities

5.1.2 What number comes next?

This section explores the idea of the number sequence and the numbers that come either before or after other numbers.

In what follows, learning intentions are indicated either as Skills or as Understanding.

Maths is a language, and it is as important to learn how to speak it as it is to listen to and understand it. Questions are given to stimulate thinking and may be asked either by adult or child. Key words and phrases are highlighted in bold.

No equipment is needed for these activities and there are no worksheets. No writing is expected.  They can be practised at home with a parent, or in school, with a teacher or other adult, and with either the whole class or with a group.  The emphasis is on verbal  activities using specific language.

Although these skills are grouped here in one section, they are so fundamental to young children’s mathematical capabilities that they should be practised daily over an extended period of time to ensure complete fluency.


Skill: Say the number word after and the number word before (less/more) within at least 20

Suggested language:

  • I am going to say a number.  Can you say the next number?  The one that comes after it?
  • Here is another number.  Can you say the number that comes before it?
  • Can you suggest a number for us to try? You have to ask us to say the number before or after
  • What is the number that is one more than __?
  • What is the number that is one less than __?


Skill: Say the next 2, 3, 4 numbers in a number word sequence

Suggested language:

  • If I say a number, could you say the next 2, 3, 4, numbers?  Is that possible?



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