In Kindergarten, our kiddos learn their “Friends of Ten“. In other words, they learn all the combinations that make ten (ex., 2 + 8, 3 + 7, etc.). In 1st grade, as students begin learning their basic addition facts, they apply that knowledge in a strategy known as “make a ten” to help make sense of facts that might otherwise be hard to memorize, such as 8 + 4 or 9 + 5. To use the strategy, students decompose one of the addends to make a ten from the other. If you look at the example pictured below, the 4 is decomposed (split) into 3 and 1. The 3 is combined with the 7 to make 10, and then the 1 is added for 11.
The make a ten strategy can be extended when students work with larger numbers. Consider adding 37 + 14. Do you see the relationship to 7 + 4? Using the make a ten strategy, we could decompose 14 into 3 and 11, combine the 3 with 37 to make 40, and add 40 + 11 to get 51. Pretty cool, right?
The activity you see pictured above is a great way for students to practice the strategy of making a ten. You can grab yours here. You might also like this post with a freebie for using the Doubles strategy!