Sunday, April 21, 2013

Composing & Decomposing to 10

Here is an activity which helps children to actually see that numbers from 1-10 are made up of parts like 2+3.  And it's tons on fun.
Use real Pattern blocks,
die cuts of Pattern Blocks,
or Pattern Block stickers.

I start out by copying our Addition Mini Book and I die cut lots of Pattern Blocks.
(You don't need our Addition Mini Book or a die cut machine to do this.  You can do it on paper with Pattern Blocks.)
The children add details to the images with a fine tip marker. 
~We all look at the first photo and pick a shape to represent 1.
~We glue it on the page.
~We copy the word that represents the shape to complete the sentence "1 is a ______."
~We add any details to the shape with a marking pen.
~We write the number sentence 1 + 0 = 1.
(You can make your own large charts using my photos as your guide.)
Sorry for the paint on the sunglasses!  :o)
~We look at the 2nd photo or chart (above) and pick an image.
~We gather the Pattern Block pieces needed to create that image and glue them to the paper.
~We copy the name of the image to complete the sentence "2 is a _____."
~We add details to it with a pen. 
~We write the number sentence 2 + 0 = 2  or  1 + 1 = 2.
(The child who picks the sunglasses would write 2 + 0 = 2 because they picked 2 shapes that are the same.  The chid who pics the house would write 1 + 1 = 2 because they picked 1 triangle + 1 square.)

Repeat for each number 3-10:
~Pick an image and duplicate it on your page by gluing on the Pattern Block pieces.
~Complete the sentence "___ is a ______."  ("3 is a cat."), ("4 is a present."), etc.
~Add details to your image with a marking pen.
~Write the number sentence _____ + _____ = ______.  (2 + 1 = 3), (4 + 0 = 4), etc.
My students came up with the lamp because
I have lamps all around my classroom.

I do this lesson in small groups of 5 or 6 and everyone shares the image they copied, the sentence they completed, and the number sentence they created. 
A little boy came up with the hockey stick.
We added the puck with a marking pen.
It's great to see them use their visual perception skills
to recreate the images.
Try to come up with your own images using ONLY 2 shapes.

I place the die cut pieces in sorting trays so it's easy to find the pieces you need.

For my more advanced or creative students, I allow them to create their own image using ONLY 2 shapes.  This takes time for them to think, but it's an opportunity for them to use
their higher level thinking skills.

I also have them color in the background
 with their blue background
(broken & paper peeled off) crayons.

             These look great out for Open House. 
This year, a student asked me what the orange & red
image was.  I said, "It's a video camera from the olden days."
This is a great opportunity to use the academic      
                                                          vocabulary words "plus" and "equals" lots of times.  
A student came up with the cement spreader after helping
his dad build a wall in his yard.  My students didn't know
what a cement spreader was prior to this activity.  :)
 I do one page (one number) each week and we do a variety of activities that week with the same number; composing and decomposing it in a variety of ways that I'll blog about soon.  :)

The more pieces you have to work with,
the harder it is to create just one thing.
The City and Birds are sets of things.
Love, love, love the wedding cake and the star ship that
two of my students came up with.  
You can find my Addition Mini Book here.  The download includes photos of all of the images.  :)
Enjoy, and remember to "Keep the FUN in the FUNdamentals!"  :oD


  1. This is so creative,colorful and concrete. I will be doing this for sure. Thanks for sharing Palma and Sarah. You are a wonderful Team.

  2. Thank you for your sweet comment. I'll be presenting this idea at the Southern CA Kindergarten Conference in Pasadena, CA on March 1 and at I Teach K in Las Vegas on July 9. It's one of my favorite projects to do with my class each year! :)