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Ordinal Numbers Worksheets

There are three common ways that we use numbers. We are probably most familiar with using numbers to quantify or tell us how many of something we have. We may state the value of something like one, five, ten, etc. These are called cardinal numbers. We can also use nominal numbers to name something or identify it like Car #7, #23 on a basketball jersey, or 90210 for a zip code. In this section we will discuss the use of ordinal numbers. They signify the position or order of something. A common example is a race where we talk about positions such as first or fifth. Think about all of the different times that you use values in this way. These worksheets and lessons help students learn how to use numbers to signify a position in a series.

Aligned Standard: K.CC.2, K.CC.4

What Are Ordinal Numbers?

Bicycle Race

We often don't realize it, but we use numbers in several ways. When you are grocery shopping or packing for a picnic, you list how many of each item that you will need such as 3 oranges, 2 apples, and 1 cucumber. In this case we have used numbers to signify a quantity or amount. When you watch a soccer game the players have numbers on their jersey to identify them from one another. It is safe to say that we cannot eliminate the use of numbers from our everyday lives.

However, there are times when you don't need to use a number but rather give a count to something. You want to define the position of something. You use a number to define the position of something in a group or order on the list. In such situations, we call these ordinal numbers. for example:

First or 1st, Second or 2nd, Third or 3rd, Fourth or 4th, Fifth or 5th.

Ordinal numbers bring order and arrangement to a system or group. When we are watching the results of a race in the Olympics, we look to see the position or place that a certain athlete came in like first or second. Ordinal numbers do not represent the quantity, but they are used to indicate the position and rank. Like the sixth floor, second grade, or twenty-fourth street.

What is very interesting about this form of numbering is that in common language it is equally acceptable to use the values as either words or numbers. Most modern forms of language and grammar mechanics standards do not seem to favor one over the other. What they all seem to have in common is that they require consistency. This means that if you use the word form at the beginning of your work, you need to continue you it throughout your entire work.

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