# Introducing Number Bonds with Hands-On Experiences

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.

*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.*

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 threeโthere 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

*all green, two greens and one yellow, etc.*). Have students turn and talk to a partner about which of the number bond cards they think matches the cubes that were drawn and why.

The conversation can now go something like this:

*Which card do you think matches the cubes? *ย The one that has 3 as the whole and 1 and 2 as parts

*Why do you think that one matches?*ย Because there is one yellow cube and two green cubes and it has a 1 and a 2

*So the parts are the colors?*ย Yes

*How about the 3 that’s on the card? ย How does that match the cubes?*ย Because we pulled three cubes out of the bag…there are three cubes total

*Oh, so the *whole*ย is the three cubes…one *part*ย of the whole is yellow and the other *part*ย is green! ย *Yes

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. ย Or 2*ย *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)*?ย *

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.

This will be perfect for me to use with some of my 2nd graders who need math interventions! Thank you for sharing!

My pleasure, Sarah! I love that you are filling in the gaps for your kiddos!

Nicely done. Thank you for posting this. ๐

You’re welcome, Lorena! Happy New Year! ๐

Excellent, even as review for 3rd graders! Thank you.

Lelhani Morris-Pouessel

Many of our older kiddos have gaps, and these activities are perfect for them!

And again, I will say the grouping needs to be done on top of the numbers and not next to the numbers. This in turn will help promote fractional number sense later in life for students.

Why make such a great product and take any criticism on it.

Marjana, I appreciate your comments, however, I feel that if our goal is to promote deep understanding and flexible thinking, students need to understand the meaning of the parts and whole regardless of the layout. My kiddos see number bonds with the whole on the side, on the top, and on the bottom!

Thank you so much for this Blog post. This is my first year as a math interventionist and I am finding your page very helpful in planning lessons for my first graders.