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How to Practice Making Ten in Kindergarten

How to teach students to Make 10. Decompose numbers with this hands-on math activity. Make paper chains to practice making ten in different ways. Work on making 10 with this fun math center for kindergarten.

Decomposing numbers is a hard concept for students to grasp at first. It takes a lot of hands-on practice, and reinforcing the concept with different activities.

Even though it is sometimes a difficult skill to master, it is important for students to understand how to make 10 so that they can move on to understanding higher levels of thinking about number sense. They will need to understand how to decompose numbers so they can add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Over the past few weeks in our kindergarten class, I have used various activities to help introduce the concept of making ten. With these hands-on centers, our students have become fluent in decomposing ten and have even started applying their knowledge in other areas (like our math talks).

Here are some ideas to get your started in your classroom, and make sure you leave me a comment to let me know how you work on making ten in your classroom!

Paper Chains

Our students were so excited to make their own paper chains. We had them choose two colours of paper, and they had to choose strips that add up to 10.

We watched to see their counting strategy, and I was impressed with the different ways they figured out how to make their paper chains.

Once they figured out how they wanted to make 10, they glued the pieces together to make their chain. I also wrote down their explanation on how they composed ten.

Snap Cubes

The next center we introduced were snap cube towers. Students chose 2 colours, then made their own tower that had 10 cubes.

Once they made their tower, they used the app Chatterpix Kids to record their math thinking. It was great for students to be able to explain how they made ten, and gave us an opportunity to hear authentic student voice.

I love using iPad apps with our centers, and you can see more of my favourites in My Top 5 iPad Apps post.

Our students were so excited to make their own bracelets. Again, we had them pick two colours of beads and students could make their own bracelets using ten beads.

They were able to walk around the classroom with their new bracelets, and take it home to show how they made ten!

Two-Colour Counters

We use this activity to reinforce counting and number sense: we put ten counters in a cup, students dump the counters out and fill the ten frame with them, then they record how they composed ten.

They love this center because they get to dump the counters onto the table! It also comes with a Making 5 activity if your students are not ready for the higher numbers (this also makes it easy to differentiate this center).

You can get this activity in my store:

Counters in a Bag

This was a great idea to get students to visualize the different ways that they can make ten. They were able to move the counters around in the bag so that they can make ten in different ways.

I gave them whiteboard markers to record the different ways they were able to decompose and compose the number 10.

How do you practice making ten with your students? Leave me a comment to tell me!

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