Build learners’ number sense with Base 10 strategies
In primary school, we work largely in a Base 10 number system, so understanding ten is very important.
The first step to understanding 10 is to get a good understanding of five, using a five frame. We can use the MNP Visualiser app to help us out with this.
Using a five frame
Alongside understanding five, we want learners to be able to identify numbers within five. Double-sided counters are a simple and effective tool to achieve this. Putting down counters and covering them encourages learners to see other numbers in the numbers. Questions that accompany this activity include:
How many green counters?
How many blue counters?
How many counters altogether?
Once a student has a good understanding of five, we can progress to 10.
Using a ten frame
Again, using a ten frame as a visual representation of 10 is highly effective. A similar activity with double-sided counters, like we used above, can be expanded upon. The questions may change slightly, but we can continue to use Visualiser and encourage learners who need this support to work in pairs challenging each other.
We want learners to become fluent with this activity and be able to recognise numbers to 10, including their component parts.
Once this has been established then we look to using 10 when joining sets.
Using two ten frames
These activities focus on understanding numbers and the importance of 10. Learners — particularly older learners — will need a lot of practice to reinforce this. Teachers will also need to be ready to introduce questions that highlight the importance of 10. Questions like 199 + 201 can be asked and followed up with:
What do you notice about the numbers?
Can you see any numbers that make ten?
What do you think would happen if you moved one number to another?
This can be supported by using the Base 10 blocks activity in the MNP Visualiser app.
Using Base 10 blocks
All of these activities are designed to be done in short bursts of about five minutes. They are also designed to be done independently in pairs or small groups.
Learners can use iPads, physical ten frames or Base 10 blocks, but they can also use partially filled ten frame cards as flash cards, using the same series of questions as in the video above.
This is an easy homework activity too as long as it is understood that less is more. They are designed to be repetitive in nature but even the most enthusiastic mathematician would find an hour of ten frame flash cards a touch too much.