Using the Make a Ten Strategy to Add

ten frame practice
Two colored counters and ten frames

This year I am teaching 3rd grade and our first unit is Adding and Subtracting to 1,000. So, I began this school year with reviewing ten frames and numbers bonds. I tried to begin with number sentences to make a ten but I quickly realized that most of the students were not fluent with the numbers that could be added together to make a ten.

I made the decision to go back to the visual with the ten frames and then make the connection to the number bonds so that the students could see the connection between the two concepts. After they were able to use the ten frames to represent the number sentences and identify the two numbers orally that created the number 10 the students were then ready for paper and pencil. I created a ten frame worksheet with number sentences for the students to match with each ten frame.

ten frame practice 2
Ten frame practice

What was really interesting to see was that the students that struggled a few days prior to these activities were able to look at each ten frame and write the number sentence fluently. I was excited because I could now move on to the making a ten strategy to add whole numbers. My goal was to give my students another tool other than counting on their fingers to add numbers that equaled more than ten.

So, I began with adding a two-digit and one digit number so that the students would be able to focus only on the ones place. Before I reviewed the trading (regrouping) concepts I front-loaded my lesson with a mini lesson on how ten pennies equal one dime. This helped the students connect what they already knew about trading with the new concept of trading 10 ones (pennies) for a group of ten (dimes). The previous lessons that I taught on ten frames

Adding using making a ten
Adding using making a ten

helped tremendously because the students were able to draw the number tally marks for the number that they were going to use to make a ten and then add the additional number of tally marks that was needed to make the number ten.

After the ten was made in the ones places and traded if there were any ones left over the students automatically knew, based on previous lessons from 2nd grade, that the number that was left was the end of adding in the ones place. Adding in the tens place was easy for them because they were only adding the ten that was traded and the tens that were already in the tens place.

I’m teaching my students how to label the numbers when they add so when they add in the ten places they have to say 2 tens + 1 ten equals 3 tens. This will help them later on with place value and rounding. I have been pleased with my students understanding and I can’t wait to see how well they understand that 10 tens = 1,000. If you are interested in using my ten frame lesson in your classroom pick up in my store.

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