A New Math Strategy for Teaching Numbers 1-10

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Children's fingers can be a tool for teaching children to count to 1-10

What I love about teaching is that there are always opportunities for learning something new. 

I recently added a new strategy to my math toolbox that supports kindergarten kids in better conceptualizing the value of numbers 6-10.

Here's how it works along with a few ideas, activities, and tips for teaching with this strategy. 

Five and Some More

In our math program, Engage NY,  we teach numbers 1-5 in what you'd most likely consider a traditional way. 

We learn to recognize and write each numeral and understand the value of each number through making sets, subitizing, and working with different configurations. 

But when we get to numbers 6-10, we teach the value of each number as "five and some more," so that 6 is 5 and 1 more, 7 is 5 and 2 more, and so on up to 10.  

For me, this was a new way of teaching these numbers and I could easily see the benefits in working with this base of 5 to support children in grasping the concepts of subitizing, counting on, and basic addition. 

Here are some of the tools I used to teach the numbers 6-10 as "Five and some more."

Math Teaching Tools

Felt board pieces laid out in a ten-frame configuration (5 on top, 5 on bottom) support children in seeing this as 5 + 1 = 6. 

The goal is to help children see the top row as "5," without having to count the set and then to count on one more to arrive at "6."

felt board pieces in a ten frame configuration work well for teaching number sense in kindergarten

Counting hands make a great visual for children to understand this concept as well.

Include a color change at 6 to signify the use of this strategy.

counting hands work well for teaching numbers 1-10 in kindergarten

Change the "hands" to "trees" when autumn arrives.

leaves on a felt board representing numbers 1-10

Use math mats, along with two different-colored counters to give children hands-on practice with this strategy.

math counting mats with counting hands for teaching numbers 1-10 in kindergarten

Let children create scattered sets on white boards and then connect them to create a counting path with a color change happening at 6.

using  a counting path as a math strategy to teach numbers 1-10

Use rekenrek beads to show this strategy. Model how to  touch the whole set of red beads and say, "5," and then to count on using the white beads.


using a rekenrek to teach counting on, place value and numbers 1-10

Create counting books that reflect this strategy.

using a counting book to teach numbers 1-10


Understanding Place Value

The best part about this strategy is that it supports children in understanding the concept of place value and will make it easier for them to visualize 11 as 10 and one more, when you begin to explore the teen numbers.

While this strategy was new to me, it may not be to you. How have you used it in your teaching? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by!

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