Material Type:
Lower Primary
  • Adding to 10
  • Making 10
  • Sum of 10
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    Education Standards

    What Makes 10?

    What Makes 10?


    Learning the pairs that make ten is a foundational skill for all future learning in number operations. This lesson has four activities that increase in difficulty for student to practice making ten. This is intended to supplement the math curriculum and give extra practice, intervention, center activities, or practice at home. An activity page with a ten frame that can be filled with counters is attached.

    Number Operations - students practice composing with a sum of 10

    Wyoming Math Content and Performance Standards (Extended Standards 2020):

    KINDERGARTEN: Number Operations and Algebraic Thinking. D3. Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 in more than one way. D4. For any number 1 through 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to that number.

    Lesson Objectives and Connections to Previous Learning:

    Students will practice making 10. This is a practice activity to supplement the math curriculum and give extra practice, intervention, center activities, or practice at home. Students need to be familiar with composing and decomposing numbers. They should know the vocab word “sum” and can also use “add” and “equals”. This practice builds important prerequisite foundations for later math since understanding what makes 10 helps with all base 10 operations.

    Instructional Materials:

    • Write on the board all the number sentences that equal 10 (form 0+10, 1+9…10+0).
    • OPTIONAL: A great resource for a classroom poster showing colored counters in 10 frames for each number sentence, find a resource on by Mr. Elementary Math called “Making 10 Poster Kit”, copyright 2013. – or make your own poster
    • Colored linking cubes
    • Whiteboards and markers (or paper with a line in the middle)
    • Small objects such as counters or pennies
    • Either dice or a spinner (can be a spinner up to 6 or up to any number 6-10)
    • Counters that are in two different colors (or different colors on each side) or 10 each of 2 kinds of counters.

    Instructions for various games / activities (these build in skill level):

    1. How many in each group:
    • This can be played by each student individually or in pairs as a center activity. Parents can also easily play this at home with children for extra practice.
    • Give each student a white board with a line drawn down the middle. Give each student 10 small objects such as counters, buttons, or pennies.
    • Each student holds the handful of objects a little ways above the white board (or paper if done at home) and drops them onto it.
    • Students count how many objects on each side of the line.
    • Students orally say sentence to show what makes ten such as, “7 and 3 make 10;” or “7 plus 3 equals 10;” (depending on level of vocabulary).
    • Additionally, students may use the marker to write the number sentence if they have been taught to do so.
    1. Filling a Ten Frame:
    • Students play in partners to roll the dice or spin the spinner
    • The first player puts that many counters on the 10 frame.
    • The second player has to tell how many more it will take to fill the 10 frame.
    • EXTENSION: Second player tries to roll the exact number on the dice or with the spinner to fill the 10 frame. If successful, that player gets two turns in row.
    1. Build a 10 cube train:
    • Students each get a train of 10 cubes. Pair students up so each has a different color.
    • Student one holds the train of 10 cubes behind his/her back and breaks off a part to keep behind back.
    • Student one shows partner the remaining part of the cube train.
    • Student two guesses how many cubes are held behind student one’s back by counting how many are held in hand and figuring out how many more it takes to make 10. Student two can use his/her own cube train to count the cubes if necessary.
    • Optional, students can use a white board to keep track of points for each time the guess for the number of cubes behind back is correct.
    • For extra scaffolding, students can look at a number line in addition to their own cube train. They can also use a poster showing the number sentences for 10. After more practice teacher may want to remove the poster of what makes 10 or the number sentences on the board.
    1. Reciting what makes 10:
    • This is played using only the dice or spinner, without any counters or cubes trains.
    • One student rolls or spins to get a number.
    • The other student says what goes with that number to make 10.
    • Teacher can make it a competition by having students see who is the first to say the second number. (My students love to get really good at making 10 so they can ask the principal to come in and play this last game with them.)

    Assessments / Culminating Activity:

    Close the lesson by naming a number and having students chorally answer to corresponding number to make 10. This is a supplemental practice activity, but teachers could easily assess students’ knowledge of what goes with a number to make 10, either with a worksheet or orally. For a formative assessment, the teacher can keep an observation sheet of which students are mastering the concept.

    Differentiated Instruction /  Accommodations:

    This game can be used as an intervention to help struggling students practice more. An IEP student can play with the teacher or be paired with a higher- level student.

    Tomi Sue Wille

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