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Chinese number 3.

Numbers and writing


Learn to:

  • count to ten in Chinese
  • write the numbers one to ten in Chinese.

Extra for experts

Learn to:

  • count to twenty in Chinese
  • say the days of the week in Chinese.

Activities – Character writing

Writing the characters for numbers is a great place to start practising ‘brush strokes’. They are also very logical. Use the template provided in Appendix 8 and practise writing the numbers.


Possible activities (adapt according to level of students)


Ask students if they know of any "lucky numbers". Discuss with the students some of China’s lucky numbers – in particular lucky number 8, and the start date for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (08/08/08).


See if you can find a video clip of students counting on their fingers in the Chinese style (1–10). Give the students the handout showing the signs (Appendix 3) for them to practise, in pairs.

As an extension, students could work in pairs, taking turns signing the numbers, with their partner saying the Chinese word for the number shown.

Appendix 3

Introduce the characters for the Chinese numbers 1–10. Ask the students if they can see any patterns, or anything logical about the characters – discuss.

Appendix 4

Extension activities for character writing could include making a wall frieze showing the numbers in English/Pinyin/Chinese characters/Te reo Māori.



Activities – Extra for experts

Other activities to help students remember the number words could include playing games such as bingo – particularly if students are able to learn the extra numbers.

Possible activities (adapt according to level of students)


Introduce the numbers 11–20. Watch the video to learn the pronunciation, and practise. Can the students spot the pattern? (11 = 10 + 1, 12 = 10 + 2 and so on.)


 An extension of this activity could be to introduce numbers up to 100, which follow a similar pattern:
 20 = 二十 èr shí or “two tens”
 21 = 二十一 èr shí yī “two tens and one”


 The days of the week are similarly very logical – just the word for week and then the numbers, starting with Monday, which is “xīngqī yī”.
 Students could make posters to show the days of the week, and ask a student to write the day of the week on the board at the beginning of the day.



Sentence pattern

Jĭntiān xīngqī sān.
Today is Wednesday.

Did you know?

Lucky numbers:

  • Even numbers are considered lucky amongst some Chinese – except the number four, because the word for four ( – falling tone), sounds like the word for death ( – drop and up tone), although it uses a different tone.
  • Some Chinese people like numbers ending in a double six (66), believing that it will bring them trouble-free daily life.
  • 8 signifies prosperity (the opening of the Olympic Games was 08/08/2008 – a very auspicious number!).
  • 9 signifies long life.

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