I’ve been working on place value with my firsties, but when we get back after the winter break, I want to do some work on composing and decomposing numbers to 10. This is technically a Kindergarten skill, but remember that I work with RTI kiddos. Understanding how to compose and decompose numbers to 10 is the basis for developing addition fact fluency, so it’s super important.
A great way to start with number bonds is with a little activity called Shake and Spill. Working with a target number, students can explore the different combinations that make that number. This is a very concrete way to see that numbers can be decomposed into different parts. Remember, however, that we want to overlap concrete learning with abstract representation. Enter the number bond. It’s a graphical representation of the combinations for a number. So, after students have had a chance to explore Shake and Spill without recording the combinations, introduce how to record the combinations using a number bond. The next step would be to have students write the four corresponding equations. But remember, baby steps…not all at one time!
After students have worked with Shake and Spill and have had practice recording the number bonds and equations, you can move to a different representation–ten frames. Students can now work with number bond cards and represent the number bonds using a ten frame.
I recently updated my number bond flashcard product and renamed it Using Number Bonds to Develop Part/Whole Thinking. It’s already a best-seller, but I love the changes I made to it. The cards all used to be missing part, but that’s really difficult for kiddos (especially my struggling babies). I wanted to change the cards to allow the students to truly develop an understanding of number bonds over time, so I created three different sets of cards.
- Both parts and the whole known This will allow the students to work with the relationship among the numbers in a number bond at the simplest level. They can build the number bond and write the equations without having to find an unknown.
- Both parts known, the whole unknown At the next level, students will combine the two parts to find the unknown whole.
- Whole known, one part missing This is the most difficult skill. Students need to have had lots of practice with the other structures or they will try to simply add the two numbers they see on the cards.
Happy holidays!! 🙂
Update: Check out this blog post for more on introducing number bonds.