I love teaching kids the difference between odd and even numbers because once they know the trick, they can easily sort numbers as small as 2 and as large as 419,472,834.
Odd Todd and Even Steven
To get started with the lesson, I introduced kids to two friends: Odd Todd and Even Steven. (You can grab a printable copy of these posters here.)
Odd Todd is a strange sort of fellow. He can be a bit greedy and does not share fair. So when he divides numbers into two groups, he always keeps the set that has more.
To show them an example, I took 5 pennies and divided them between two piles.
One penny for Odd Todd, one for a student. A second penny for Odd Todd, another for the student. A third for Odd Todd… And then we were out!
Since Odd Todd is greedy, he kept the pile with more. No fair!
I explained to kids that numbers ending in the digits 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 are Odd Todd numbers. They don’t share fair and someone always gets more.
Even Steven, on the other hand, likes everyone to have the same amount. We repeated our division demonstration with 6 pennies instead of the previous 5. Both Even Steven and the other student walked away with the same number of pennies. Whew! So much better.
Then I explained to kids that numbers ending in the digits 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8 are Even Steven Numbers. They always share fair and both people get the same amount.
Sorting Big Numbers
Next comes the fun! I challenged kids to practice their new trick with some big numbers.
542? It had a 2 in the ones place so it was an even number.
6,727? The number had a 7 in the ones place so it was odd.
4,593,026? It ended with 6 (an even digit) so the entire number was even!
Odd and Even Activity Sheets
When kids were ready to practice on their own, I printed a copy of these free Odd Todd and Even Steven activity sheets and let them get to work.
They drew a picture of their new friend, colored options that matched, tallied the number of odd and even numbers in the box and divided a number into two groups.
So much odd and even practice on one sheet!
Grab Your Set
Ready to play? Download your batch of Odd Todd and Even Steven sheets and then hop over and grab a matching set of free Odd Todd and Even Steven posters!