Whether the beginning of the year or somewhere in the middle, it’s never too late to establish routines for your class. To that end, I want to offer another daily routine for building number sense. Check out this related post for many other ideas!
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This routine comes from Number Sense Routines, an amazing book filled with quick and easy ideas for developing mathematical understanding through daily routines!
I love this quote in the book from a third grader as he explained how he had mentally calculated a multi-digit addition problem:
“I’m always trying to find a way to make ten to make [the problem] easier. I guess that’s why ten is so important. It helps me do it in my head.”
Which brings me to the Ten Wand. It’s a routine for building an understanding of the combinations for ten. A ten wand is a train of 10 linking cubes–5 of one color and 5 of another. When students break the wand into two pieces, the result is a combination for 10. Because of the two colors, it uses the visual representation of 5 to help students more easily identify the two parts for 10. For example, in the ten wand shown below, students know there are 5 blue cubes without counting, which makes it easier for them to identify that part as 8 (5 and 3).
To use this as a daily routine, the teacher and each student need a ten wand. As students “break” the wand, the teacher engages students in questions about how many cubes are on the floor and how many are still in their hand, recording student responses on a class chart. After engaging in this type of activity daily for several weeks, the routine can be revisited periodically or moved to a workstation. I created a recording sheet that can be used for students to record their work at the workstation.
Click here to grab yours. Notice that there are 11 boxes made from dashed lines. The one extra box will show where the wand is “broken”. I thought that would be an easy way to support the drawing of the result.