Color by number
 While coloring an area/zip code map, students talk about colors and numbers.

You will need:

  • For each student, a map of area/zip code, with an empty legend associating colors and numbers.
  • As an alternative, students can create their own maps.
Suggested vocabulary:

          map  color (various colors)  number (various numbers)   phone book  area code  zip code  left  right  middle  around 


Click on the thumbnail image if you want to see a larger picture. Teachers who use a screen reader
should ignore the links to the larger images, as the screen reader will read the instructions in order.

  The examples below are area-code maps of Idaho (208), Wyoming (307), and Montana (406).

1. Create a legend, associating numbers from 0 to 9 with individual colors.

2. Decide on a color scheme, e.g., the first number on the left, the second to its right, etc.

3. Or, the first number in the center, the second surrounding it, etc.

  4. Color the various areas according to your scheme. When you have finished, explain the map to the class. Have students decipher some of the area/zip codes by the colors.

  Suggested links for additional ideas:
  • Color by Number
    Scholastic provides an interesting twist to the typical color by number activity. This one, which has students color a computer, keyboard and monitor, combines coloring with math. For each item that is to be colored, the student must solve an arithmetic problem. The colors are represented by numbers, and the answer to each arithmetic problem tells which color is to be used. We think foreign language students might welcome this kind of activity when beginning to learn numbers.

  • Puzzle created by Roger Barkan and Mike Pieja (aka Peach)
    Rog and Peach, who are studying at Harvard and Princeton, ask whether we are ready for the grown-up version of what we did as children and provide the solution to the puzzle if we are stumped:

  • The Coloring Hut
    A superb Web page of links to other sites that offer tons of free pages to print and color. Some links lead to color by number sites, and others are of sites that provide images to color.

  • A treasure of color by Number and letter activities, by Pratt's Educational Resources.

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