Teaching Early Math Concepts: Positional Words Lesson Plan

Teaching Early Math Concepts: Positional Words Lesson Plan
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Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to. MAK-G-A-1


  • Gather small objects of different shapes and colors (ball, block, puzzle piece, cube, box, toy, book, etc.). Place the items in a bag so the children cannot see them.
  • Plain white paper for each student
  • Red, green, blue, black, purple crayons


Say, “Today we are going to play a game like hide and seek. Some of you will hide an object and then give clues to your friends to help them find the object. You will use words like under, behind, in front of and on. These are called position words. The words tell us where something is.”

Place students in groups of four. The first group will hide an object that you have placed in the bag while the second group of students hides their eyes. No peeking! When the object has been hidden each member of the group gives a clue one at a time to the second group. Make the clues hard. Don’t give away too much information all at one time. The other students watch.

Clues might be:

  • The object is red
  • The object is round
  • The object is in front of the wall.
  • The object is behind the trashcan.

When group two has found the object they will hide a different item for group three to find. Repeat until every group has had a turn hiding and finding.


Give each student a piece of white paper and five crayons mentioned above. If you chose to you can separate the students so they will not be looking at someone else’s paper.

Then give these directions slowly, repeating two times:

  • Please put your name on the paper with the black crayon.
  • Turn the paper over.
  • Draw an X with the red crayon.
  • Draw a blue line under the X.
  • Draw a purple circle next to the X.
  • Draw a face in the circle with the blue crayon.
  • Draw a hat on the top of the circle.
  • Turn the paper over.
  • Draw a line above your name with a green crayon.
  • Draw a line below your name with a red crayon.

Reinforce these positional words by using them frequently instead of pointing to something. It also promotes good listening habits.