The Using Doubles Strategy for Addition

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

Using a strategy-based approach helps students master their back addition and subtraction facts. One such strategy for tackling those harder facts, like 7 + 8, is the Using Doubles strategy. Students often easily learn their doubles (2 + 2, 3 + 3, 4 + 4, etc.). If your kiddos are still learning their doubles, check out this post for a fun kinesthetic way to practice.

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.

The Using Doubles strategy involves decomposing one addend to make a double with the other addend.  For example 7 + 8 is the same as 7 + 7 plus 1 more. Double ten frames are great for exploring the strategy. Have students build each addend on a different ten frame using two-color counters. For example, 7 + 8 would look like this:

You can download a ten-frame template here.

After you’ve introduced the strategy and students have had a chance to work with manipulatives to understand the strategy, it’s time for a little independent practice! This little freebie includes a set of workstation cards and an “I Can ” card for student directions. Have students record their work in their math journals for accountability and for a quick formative assessment.

Grab your freebie here! 🙂

Check out this post for a similar FREE activity for using the Make a Ten strategy.

And if you’re looking for a great resource for strategy-based fact instruction, try this book:

10 Comments

  1. Sara at school

    It seems like that jump from doubles to doubles plus one is a hard one. Thanks for the ideas and freebies to help!
    Sara

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure, Sara!

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Love, LOVE Number Talks, Susan. We do them K-5! BTW, that YouTube video is so creative! Why wasn’t stuff like that around when I was learning history? I shared the link on my FB page. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Caroline

    Hi Donna

    An other handy resource. I have been following your blog for a couple of years now and have used many of your resources with my classes. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing your own learning with the rest of us teachers. You have certainly made an impact on the learning of my Aussie students.
    Regards
    Caroline

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thank you so much, Caroline, for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment. 🙂

      Reply
  3. John SanGiovanni

    Love that book too!!! Thanks for all you do Donna.

    Reply
  4. frankie mccall

    Thanks for the help this will really benefit my daughter!!

    Reply
  5. Lee Ann Watson

    I love the Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction book. Do you find the book Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Multiplication and Division to be as helpful?

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Yes, absolutely! My copies of both are well-worn. 🙂

      Reply

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