Count On It

Oct 19, 2021 | Franklin WI

We all know how to count, right? But where do you start? 1 or 0?

But when you start on a journey, have you already gone 1 mile? When the stopwatch is hit, does it display 1 second? 

The Human Calculator, Scott Flansburg, talked with Mike Rowe on his podcast "The Way I Heard It" about the difference that 0 can make. It may mean nothing, but it also means everything. From elementary students realizing that "0 is a number and a valid answer!" to higher math concepts like counting the slope of lines (start at 0!), the concept of 0 is key to a firm foundation. 

Follow the link below to listen to him speak about counting from 0 and the difference it can make in your mathematical mindset:

But that's not the only trick he reveals - there's also an easy way to count by 9's that we teach all of our kids! (Up 10, Down 1!)

Make it a game - Hot Potato Count By!

Stand or sit across from your partner or in a circle if playing with mutliple people. Grab something to throw, a ball, a stuffed animal, or even a potato! Starting at 0, the moderator calls out a number. Players toss the object, and whoever catches it must "Count By" that number (add that number to the current amount). After a few rounds, the moderator changes the number and the next person must "Count By" that number. If a player is incorrect or takes too long, they are out.


  • Moderator: "3!"
  • Players:  "0... 3... 6... 9... 12..."
  • M: "5!"
  • P: "17... 22... 27... 32..."
  • M: "7!"
  • P: "39... 46... 53..."

Level the game up by choosing harder numbers, or reversing to count down instead of up!