Last week I blogged about number bonds and part/whole thinking, something I’ll be working with my Firsties on after the break. I’ve been thinking through how I want the lessons to go in my head. This is going to be my introductory lesson the first day back.
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Put linking cubes of two colors into a bag. There’s nothing magic, of course, about using linking cubes. You could use teddy bear counters or other manipulatives. What’s important is that you have two different colors. I will probably repeat this activity on several different days using different manipulatives each time. You might want to put more of one color in the bag, so you increase the chance that you’ll pull out only one color.
Display the number bond cards for the number three–there are only two as shown in the picture above. You want cards showing the whole and both parts. I’m starting with the number three just to introduce the idea of a number bond, explain how the cards represent the number bond, and show how to write the equations associated with a number bond. Ask students to look at the cards and make observations about what they see. Some ideas they might verbalize include:
- There are numbers in boxes
- There are three boxes on each card
- Some boxes are bigger than others
- One card shows 1, 2, and 3, and 1 + 2 =3
- The boxes have words in them–part and whole
The conversation can now go something like this:
Which card do you think matches the cubes? The one that has 3 as the whole and 1 and 2 as parts
Why do you think that one matches? Because there is one yellow cube and two green cubes and it has a 1 and a 2
So the parts are the colors? Yes
How about the 3 that’s on the card? How does that match the cubes? Because we pulled three cubes out of the bag…there are three cubes total
Next, I would connect the cubes to the equations without, however, writing them yet.
So 1 (touching the yellow cube) plus 2 (pushing the two green cubes together with the yellow cube) equals 3. Or 2 plus 1 equals 3. If I have 3 cubes, and I take away the yellow cube (push it away), how many cubes are left (2)? If I have 3 cubes and take away the 2 green cubes (push them away), how many cubes are left (1)? I
Finally, I would use the mat and ten frame to represent the same number bonds and write the equations. So I’d put one of the cards in the space and have the students tell me how to represent the number bond on the ten frame. I’d ask them to tell me the addition and subtraction equations while I model how to write them.
We will repeat this activity numerous times using different numbers for the whole. Once the students are comfortable with the process, the activity can be used in a workstation. Differentiate the activity by having students use the number they are working on. See this blog post for more information about identifying a student’s number using a hiding assessment.
The ten frame/equation mat is part of my Using Number Bonds to Develop Part/Whole Thinking unit, which you can grab here.
Check out this post for some next steps in teaching number bonds.