T4T Ten Frames (0-10)

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Lesson Excerpt:

NC Mathematics Standard:

Add and subtract within 20.

NC.1.OA.9 Demonstrate fluency with addition and subtraction within 10.


Additional/Supporting Standards:

Understand and apply the properties of operations.

NC.1.OA.4 Solve an unknown-addend problem, within 20, by using addition strategies and/or changing it to a subtraction problem.


Extend and recognize patterns in the counting sequence.

NC.1.NBT.1 Count to 150, starting at any number less than 150.


Standards for Mathematical Practice:

2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

5.   Use appropriate tools strategically.

6.   Attend to precision.
7. Look for make use of structure.


Student Outcomes:

●     I can represent a given number between 0-10 on a ten frame.

●     When given a number between 0 and 9, I can tell how many more need to be added to make a 10.

●     When given a number between 0 and 9, I can tell what one more and one less is. 


Math Language:

What words or phrases do I expect students to talk about during this lesson?

            ones, tens, less, more



●     Ten Frame Mats, 2-color counters, number cards (0-9), spinner, paperclip, pencil

●     Ten Frame Cards (Optional)

●     Computers to access interactive activity using ten frames (Optional): http://illuminations.nctm.org/activitydetail.aspx?id=75


Advance Preparation:

●     Gather materials


1.  Overview of Ten Frames (5-10 minutes)     


Model the orientation of the ten frame mats in front of the students and provide directions for placing red/yellow counters left to right and top to bottom on ten-frames.


The teacher models what the number 1 looks like and the students build on their ten frame:


Continue with the numbers 2, 3 and 4.  

Ask students:  What would the number six look like? 

Ask students to represent all the numbers 0 – 10 one at a time.


Extend their thinking by doing a quick image activity.  Make a representation on the ten frame without showing it to students.  Then show it for 3-5 seconds using a document camera or ten frame cards.  After you have shown it to them, have students make the same representation on their own ten frames.  Show it to them again for 3-5 seconds.  Have them correct their representations if needed. Then show them the image and leave it up.


Ask students questions such as: How many counters are there?

Where are groups of counters that could help us count quickly?


Explore (Part One)

2.  Representing Numbers on a Ten Frame (8-10 minutes)

Ask students to use counters to represent various numbers on a ten frame. Suggested numbers:  3, 5, 8, 7.


As students do this, observe:

Do students clear the ten frames each and every time OR do students add to or take from the counters on the board to make new numbers?


Ask:  How would you represent 1 more than 4?  What would that look like on the ten frame?  The students should show the number 5 on the ten frames.


Follow up by asking:  What is 1 more than 4?  How do you know that it is 5?

Several numbers are given for children to represent 1 more than that number.


Next, ask:  What would 1 less than 5 look like on the ten frame?  The students show the number 4 on the ten frames.

The teacher should then follow up by asking:  What is 1 less than 5?  Can you use your ten frame to explain how you know?  Several numbers are given for children to represent 1 less than that number.


Pose more 1 more and 1 less tasks.

Examples:  Use your ten frames to show me….1 more than 6, 1 less than 4, 1 more than 8


Make sure to ask students to discuss the number of counters on their ten frames, and explain how they solved the task.


Explore (Part Two)
3.  One More/One Less Activity Using a Spinner (8-10 minutes)

Model the activity by first pulling a number card from a deck (0-9).  Students will use counters to first represent the number on the ten frame.


Next, spin the spinner that has the words: number, 1 more and 1 less.  Model how to use it.  It is suggested that you use a paper clip to spin, and you use a pencil or an object to keep the paper clip on the spinner.  Adjust the number of counters on the ten frame based on what the spinner tells you to do.


Repeat this activity numerous times with the students.  As students are working, challenge them to see if they can mentally determine what 1 more, 1 less orthe number is without using the counters.  This process encourages students to mentally think about the numbers without the support of counting the counters.


Use a checklist to collect anecdotal notes on students.  You could collect notes on the following questions:

·     Do students correctly represent the number on the card?

·     Do students use the counters to determine what 1 more, 1 less, or the number is?

·     Can students efficiently (within 3 seconds) determine what 1 more, 1 less, or the number is without using the counters?



4.  Discussion of the Spinner Activity (8-10 minutes)

After the students have had a few minutes to work on the spinner activity, bring them together to discuss their work.


Give students a scenario, such as the number card 5 and 1 more on the spinner. Ask students:  How many counters should we have?  Depending on students’ progress, you can continue with these types of tasks or move on.


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