Being able to easily compose and decompose numbers is a crucial component of number sense. Kids need lots of practice composing and decomposing numbers to 10 in Kindergarten and 1st grade. In 2nd grade, they should be working with 2-digit numbers. You honestly just can’t get enough of this type of practice. So, the challenge becomes keeping it fresh and engaging. I remember my 1st-grade teachers telling me one day “Under a Rock has got to go!”
This post contains affiliate links, which simply means that when you use my link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, and I only link to books and products that I personally use and recommend.
Shake and Spill is a great game because it is easy to make different versions (almost any graphic will do), it’s easy to differentiate (the target number can be 5, 25, or whatever you want to make it), and it’s fun to play!
Basically, you choose a target number; let’s say 5, for example. Players put 5 counters in a cup, they shake it, and they spill the counters onto the mat. Then they describe how many fell on the picture and how many fell off. They continue this process trying to find all the combinations for the target number. Here’s a tip. Put the Shake and Spill Mat inside something. I like to use my workstation box like I’ve shown in the picture. It keeps the “spillage” contained! BTW, that’s my favorite type of box for work stations. I love that it can hold a full letter-size piece of paper, and it has a snap-on lid so you can stack the boxes.
What about CRA? The game itself is concrete learning, because students are manipulating objects. The printables I’ve included extend the activity to the representational (drawing) and abstract (symbolic) stages. Of course, that would be a gradual process!
Grab your free copy of Quack Attack!
Want a whole year of Shake and Spill boards?
Incorporate graphing for even more powerful learning!