If you've ever worked with primary children, you've undoubtedly seen the look of frustration on your student's faces when they can't quite grasp the understanding of addition and subtraction. Usually, the problems stem from teachers introducing abstract symbols before students have had a lot of real experiences manipulating objects to help them develop a sense of quantity, number combinations, and number relationships. "Symbols come to have meaning only when they are associated with these real experiences." Kathy Richardson So put away the workbooks and flashcards and break out the games. If you've used mine and Deedee's Kindergarten or First Grade Math Units you know that we are a firm believer in giving kids conceptual experiences to help them develop a deep understanding of number sense. Here are a few ideas for things that you can do in your classroom to help your students build number sense for addition and subtraction.
Use the “Five Little this and five little that” poems to work on addition and subtraction. Let the kids be the manipulatives. Use language like, "3 and 2 is 5," so that when it comes time to introduce the symbols for addition they will already have a conceptual understanding.
Give your students lots of opportunities to play games that require them to build two sets of objects and then count them to see how many in all.
You can use any manipulatives that you have in your room and a set of dice to get started. Kids love using real objects like pom poms, keys, pattern blocks, and unifix cubes.
Abby and I teamed up to work on some games to help your students strengthen their number sense. You can read her post here. We just finished the second set of math games, and this set is all about Addition. There are ELEVEN games, and they are on sale for almost 40% off until Wednesday.
Here's some of what's included: