Monday, 14 November 2016

Number Sense with Ten Frames

If you are a kindergarten teacher, I bet that you have a couple of kids who always forget to move their fingers from one object to another when they count. That’s because they haven’t mastered the idea of quantity and 1:1 correspondence yet. Just memorizing the numbers in the correct sequence doesn’t really help understand this.

It might take a longer time for some, so finding hands-on, fun and engaging activities is very important.

But before I get to that, let’s talk a bit more about number sense. As I said, it’s not enough to just count objects; number sense involves understanding the relationship between quantity and numbers, being able to grasp notions of cardinality and ordinality, comparing numbers, being able to tell what number is missing from different patterns, subitizing, composing and decomposing numbers, and even becoming familiar with mathematical operations.

There are different tools and manipulatives you can use to get children interested and engaged: counters, rekenreks, ten frames, scales, base ten blocks, and many others. But these can be quite expensive. Some of them you can make yourself easily, for example ten frames and improvised scales. And you can use almost anything that you find outdoors as counters: twigs, chestnuts, leaves, rocks, pine cones, etc.

Today I’m going to talk more about ten frames. Ten frames are great, but let me elaborate:
· they help children with numbers from 1-10;
· they use 5 and 10 as milestones: by understanding that each row contains 5 objects, the children will be able to observe the link between let’s say 7 and 5 (7 is 2 more than 5). This in turn will help them later on, when they will start adding and subtracting;
· ten frames are very helpful for subitizing – being able to tell how many objects are in a pile without counting them individually;
· they are easy to use in math centre activities;
· they help children understand how to compose and decompose numbers;
· you can even use ten frames to explain odd and even numbers, by placing counters on both rows and checking if they have pairs or not.

I hope I’ve convinced you that ten frames are very useful in math activities!
Here’s a resource I have created: Fun with Ten Frames. This resource contains some games and hands-on activity ideas that will keep your kids engaged while learning to count and subitize. There are also some photos and step-by-step instructions and ideas.

If you likes this post, you might also be interested in reading:
Penguin Number Mats
Science Activities with Horse-Chestnuts
Number and Colour Recognition Game

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