Problems to HelpTransition from number value to addition and subtraction

Body Parts Investigation

Materials: Multilink cubes, sticky notes

Procedure: Ask the students how many noses are in the classroom. Ask for suggestions on how to find out and prove the answer. If students don't suggest to model the problem by using objects the teacher should when the time is appropriate. Pass out one object (cube) to each student to represent the noses. Try different ways of arranging the cubes to show the number of noses. Discuss and illustrate each.

Ask them how many eyes? Again let students make suggestions. If necessary suggest that each student use a small piece of paper or sticky note to draw two circles. Try different ways of arranging the sticky notes to show the number of eyes in the class. Discuss and illustrate each.

Open the investigation by asking them to figure out in pairs or for themselves and in their own ways how many mouths, legs, hands, fingers, toes, and other body parts are in the classroom. When completed discuss and illustrate each.

Apple Packaging Investigation


Procedure: Tell the following story to the students: I went to the store and wanted to buy some apples. The store had green, yellow, and red apples in containers of ten of each color. The grocer had individual apples but only the boxes of ten were on sale. Curious, I asked why she only had boxes of ten. The grocer answered that there were too many different ways. I asked how many and she said that she did not know. I said that maybe I would ask my students and see if they could tell me how many different combinations of apples could be made.

Bean Toss

Materials: the number beans (different colors on each side (green and white))equal to the sum that is to be investigated for each student (5), record sheet or small book with an outline of five beans on each page or section


Give each student five beans and a record sheet.

Have them drop the beans on their desk.

Record the number of beans on their record sheet by coloring in the outline green or leaving it white for each roll.

Have them repeat the procedure for the number of entries desired (10 or more).

When the students are done tossing their beans ask them how many different ways there were for the beans to land.

Tell them that you want them to identify all the different ways the beans could land. Discuss and list the ways until students are satisfied they have all the possible ways represented.

Create a chart with all the different possibilities.

Have students record the results on the class chart. There are several ways students could do this. One would be to have each student write the results on a sticky note and have them attach their notes to the chart.

Discuss the chart results.

Bus Driver Dilemma

A bus driver wants to know how many people are on the bus at all times. She is tired of counting the passengers to find out how many. The bus holds 12 people. Tell me how she can know without counting. Can have students act it out, draw a bus, label stops, then create problems + - 3… record each step, and model the numbers. A number line is too abstract for students to use for operations at the primary level.

Blocks in a city. Friend walked from 16th street to 34th street, how many blocks? Use measurement model?

Combinations that make ten

See Apple Packaging Investigation, list all combinations that make ten.

Ten frame
Hundred chart activities

Have students place the number cards onto an empty chart and ask them to explain why they placed it in that particular pocket.

Give students a partically completed hundred chart and ask them to complete it.

Make puzzles out of hundreds charts and let the students complete them.

Make puzzles hundreds charts with numbers missing and let the students complete them and then write the missing numbers. Laminate and use waterbased marker.

Rekenrek or calculating frame

20 beads - ten each on two rods with five white and five black on each rod (Use like ten frames).

Can hide from group like 6 + 5, then show briefly. Ask how many? How know?

Use frame to make problems like double - decker bus, slumber party on bunk bed…

Make pocket chart for students and group as tens with five and five so can use everyday.

Tens Concentration

Materials: 40 cards from a deck with the face cards removed. Aces count as one.


Deal all 40 cards in a 5 x 8 array.
Have players take turns turning over two cards at a time.
If the two cards add to ten, then they can remove them.

Variations with Go fish same way, Dominoes Ten play so that combinations need to add to ten…

Learning Strategies of addition and subtraction with sequences.
Making five and using five as an anchor

See bean toss and Apple packaging investigation (could be altered for 5 apples)

Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©