Ordinal Numbers

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11821

Do you watch baseball? Are the bases called Base Number One, Base Number Two, etc.? There is an easier way to name them. Learn to put ordinal numbers in order!


Counting and Cardinality

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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These animals are on their way to the zoo.

  • Which animal is first in line?

You saw a line of animals heading to the zoo.

These animals are in a specific order.

  • Were you able to figure out which one was first?
  • Do you know which animal is second and which animal is third?

If you count the animals in order from left to right, you would count the zebra first, the buffalo second, and the elephant third. You always want to count from the first place in line.

You can tell which object is first by looking at the direction the objects are facing.

This lesson is all about ordinal numbers. Ordinal numbers are used to tell the order of specific things.

For example, ordinal numbers can be used to describe a person's place in line, to determine where someone finished a competition, and to sequence activities and events.

Look at the chart below, which shows all the numbers you use to count and how the matching ordinal number is written.

Counting Number Ordinal Number Written Ordinal Number
1 1st first
2 2nd second
3 3rd third
4 4th fourth
5 5th fifth
6 6th sixth
7 7th seventh
8 8th eighth
9 9th ninth
10 10th tenth


When telling the order of something, you use the same numbers to count.

For example, if you counted the animals in the line, you may have said that the zebra was number one. Instead of saying "number one," you would say "first."

Look at another example. All these forest animals are in line to go to a lake: a bear, a raccoon, a deer, and a chipmunk.

  • Can you tell which animal is second and which is fourth?

Check your answers using the chart below.

Before moving to the Got It? section, say the ordinal numbers listed below out loud.

  • first
  • second
  • third
  • fourth
  • fifth
  • sixth
  • seventh
  • eighth
  • ninth
  • tenth

Great job! You used ordinal numbers to count from one to ten.

In the Got It? section, watch a review video and play ordinal number games!

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