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Odd Is In

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Students play a game with coins and then use reasoning skills to develop a strategy for winning the game.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent

Coin Program(s)

  • Generic


  • Students will draw logical conclusions about mathematics.
  • Students will use models, known facts, properties, and relationships to explain their thinking.
  • Students will justify their answers and solution processes.
  • Students will use relationships to analyze mathematical situations.
  • Students will believe that mathematics makes sense.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade
  • Third grade
  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Pairs

Terms and Concepts

Logical reasoning


Large collection of pennies


Collect 15 pennies for each pair of students.

  1. Explain the rules for the game "Odd Is In":
    1. The players set out all 15 pennies between them.
    2. The first player chooses to pick up either one, two, or three coins.
    3. The second player does the same.
    4. The players keep taking turns picking up coins until none is left.
    5. Each player counts how many cents they have.  Whoever has the odd number wins!
  2. Divide the class into pairs.  Have each pair play the game about 10 times.
  3. Analyze the strategies students developed for winning the game.  For younger kids, hold a class discussion.  For older kids, ask each student to write about his or her strategies for winning.
There are no modification options for this lesson plan.

Observe and discuss the activity with students.  For older students, evaluate their written answers for their understanding of the activity.

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.CC Counting and Cardinality
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Compare numbers

  • K.CC.6. Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, eg, by using matching and counting strategies.
  • K.CC.7. Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals. 

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.CC Counting and Cardinality
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Count to tell the number of objects

  • K.CC.4. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
    • When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
    • Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
    • Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
  • K.CC.5. Count to answer "how many?" questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1-20, count out that many objects. 

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: All Reasoning and Proof
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Recognize reasoning and proof as fundamental aspects of mathematics
  • Make and investigate mathematical conjectures
  • Develop and evaluate mathematical arguments and proofs
  • Select and use various types of reasoning and methods of proof