To do this lesson you will need (this post contains affiliate links):
* Base ten blocks. If you don’t have base ten blocks/rods, check out this DIY tutorial and make your own! Or you could buy one like the one in the above image. It’s cool because it’s cheap and made of foam. Who doesn’t like foam?
* Place value mat. These are easily drawn or you could print the one I created from Teachers Pay Teachers. If you do not have a Teachers Pay Teachers account, you should. It is free and has so many cool activities for every subject.
Teaching addition using base ten rods is simple and concrete. The following steps will teach you how to teach your child to add numbers with answers up to 19.
Create a good story problem at your child’s level. You want it to be easy at first. If your child can only count accurately to 10 then start with numbers that add to 5. If you are like me, you will probably pick a problem that is too easy and the child will just tell you the answer. If that happens ask, “Can you show me how you solved that using the blocks?”
Talk about it. At first you will model how to talk about the problem. “Billie has 9 baseball bats. I know that because there are 9 blocks in the ones place. So, 4+5=9.” Later, have them talk about it, “How many baseball bats did Billie get? How do you know? What is the number sentence?” I would encourage you to write the number sentence with every problem. You or they could write it or have them build it using magnetic numbers, stickers, tiles, blocks, or even an app.
Practice. Continue giving them 1-2 problems a day until they can easily and accurately add to 10. Every time they solve a problem, use the place value mat and make sure the beads are in the ones place. I would use either the place value mat with the ten frame or a ten frame by itself for this because it helps children develop spacial memory of numbers. So that when they look at 5 in a ten frame they can see 5 without counting. Don’t forget to talk about the problem.
Introduce the ten rod. Give them a problem that adds to ten. Once they have solved it, point out that the answer fills the ten frame. “We have a ten frame in the ones column to help us keep track of 10 but really, the ones place can only hold 9 blocks. Ten is too many. When we have ten blocks in the ones place we can trade the 10 blocks out for a ten rod.” Take the ten blocks off the ten frame and put a ten rod in the tens place. If you want you can have the child count the blocks so that they can see that there are ten, which is the same amount that they took away from the ones place. You could also write the number 10 on paper and point out that the one stands for one group of ten and the zero stands for zero ones. Solve a few more problems that add to ten to make sure your child understands how to trade ten blocks for a ten rod and where to place it.
Practice making numbers in the teens. Create a number and have your child tell you what it is. Encourage counting on from 10. If your child cannot count on from 10 it’s okay that they count all ten blocks on the ten rod and then count the ones. However, you can model counting on. I have found that my children just need to hear it a few times and then they will catch on. Continue to practice until they can make the numbers 1-19. Once that is easy, call out a number and your child creates it on their board.
Adding up to 19. Give your child a problem that will equal more than 10. Let’s say, 6+5=?. The child will add 6 blocks to the ones place and then 5 more. Next, they will trade ten blocks for a ten rod. Then count up their answer-or just recognize it depending on their level.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly they can solve large number problems.
If you find yourself or your child getting frustrated, go back to the previous step. You could also leave it for a few days and then come back to it.
Get the free printable place value chart by clicking on the picture below:
Stay tuned for a free printable pack to go with this post.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me or put the question in the comments box below.