Ten has a special place in our number system, so it is critical that children know all the combinations for making ten. A quick look at where this skill goes in first and second grade helps emphasize the importance of mastering this critical skill by the end of Kindergarten.

### First Grade: Use Strategies to Add and Subtract Within 20

A powerful strategy for learning basic addition facts is the Make a Ten strategy. This strategy can be used when one of the addends is close to ten, as in the fact shown below. To apply the strategy, children think of the number that goes with 8 to make ten, which is 2. They then decompose the 5 into 2 and 3, resulting in connecting 8 + 5 to 10 + 3. With practice, children develop automaticity with 8 + 5 and will no longer need to derive the sum, but learning through a strategy-based approach rather than through rote memorization develops number sense and stresses the relationships between facts.

### Second Grade: Multi-Digit Addition

The Make a Ten strategy that was applied to basic facts in first grade can be extended in second grade when children are learning multi-digit addition. Rather than making a ten, they are making the next multiple of ten, realizing that if 7 and 3 make 10 then 37 and 3 make the next multiple of ten as shown in the example below. Notice that if this problem were being solved with the standard algorithm it would require regrouping. Experience with alternate strategies such as extending the Make a Ten strategy leads to better understanding once children do tackle the standard algorithm.

### Mastering the Combinations for Ten

A visual reminder in the classroom, such as this anchor chart, is a great way for students to master all of the combinations for ten. Use a ten-frame and two-color counters to illustrate the combinations and create the T-chart shown on the left of the anchor chart. After recording the corresponding equations on the right side, allow students to notice the patterns and make connections with the turnaround facts. To read more about a lesson for creating the chart, check out this post.

Children also need practice to develop mastery with the combinations for ten, and we want that practice to be engaging! I just made a new little Back and Forth game for practicing the combinations for 10. There are two versions of the game board–one that has ten-frame images for kiddos who need pictorial support and one that has expressions with a missing addend. Back and Forth is a fun game that’s a little like tug-o-war. Both players use the same playing piece, but move it in different directions. The game can go on for a while, so it provides lots of practice.

You can download your free copy here.

Check out these other posts with games for making ten:

- Literacy Connection for Making Ten: Ten Flashing Fireflies
- Game for Making Ten Using a Deck of Cards
- Online Game for Composing Numbers
- Another Card Game for Making Ten with a Magical Twist

Would it be possible to be able to download your files without having a Dropbox link? My district has Dropbox blocked so I can’t open any of your files unless I go home and then email them to myself 🙁

I’m sorry for the inconvenience, Wendy. Unfortunately, Dropbox is the tool that makes the most sense for me and the only one I use now (older files are in Google Drive).

Hey Donna, I am a little confused on the game. If they roll the dice and get a 2, 1) do they move 2, or 2) do they move to the ten frame that makes 10. Do they move back if they get it wrong or get to stay if they get it right. I like to overthink things and it sometimes causes problems. 🙂

Thanks, Derrick

They move two. I can see how that might be confusing since on the board if you move two you land on a spot that requires two to make ten! No moving back if they get it wrong. They just correct their error and stay on the space.