I also use 5 as a benchmark. I teach students to recognize that there are five whenever the top row is full. They are then able to count on from 5 without counting each dot.
Although ten frames work wonderfully for many students, sometimes just using the ten frame on paper is not enough. I have had several students who needed to fill a ten frame with actual objects. I first tried using a ten frame on paper and having the students place manipulatives within each square. However, the concept still did not seem to click for them. They needed an actual ten frame that they could pick up and that would only hold one object in each box.
I needed something cheap and accessible. I came up with using an egg carton. I cut off two of the cups and the top and I had and instant ten frame. I spray painted or painted mine, so they were more exciting.
I started making a math version of my alphabet scavenger hunts. It includes ten frames, numerals, and object cards up to 20. Students are able to move around the room to find numerals, ten frames, or to count penguins. Students trace or write the numeral, add circles to a ten frame, or identify the sum of an addition sentence. Students can use a wand to really focus in on the numbers or objects. You can pick up a FREE set of penguin focus wands here.
I wanted to be able to extend that learning with the egg carton ten frames. I set up a center with egg carton ten frames, the penguin ten frame cards from the scavenger hunt (you can use any ten frame cards), some manipulatives, and some crayons or markers. Students would draw a card from the pile and recreate the ten frame in the egg carton.
I reinforce that building the ten frame is just like reading. You start at the beginning (on the left) fill up spaces all the way to the end of the ten frame and then return to the beginning on the next line.
You can use any type of manipulative. In the picture above we used ping pong balls. They fit perfectly into each egg carton space. We have also used puff balls, cotton balls, unifix cubes, little seasonal erasers.
After the student counts the circles in the ten frame and fills the ten frame to match the card, they will find the matching numeral on the extension worksheet. They will then recreate the ten frame, by drawing circles. The reason I love this activity is that it gives students an opportunity to learn with their hands. They are able to physically build the number, before being asked to represent the number on paper.
The egg carton ten frames are not only useful with students just beginning to learn about numbers and ten frames, they can help students who need more concrete learning experiences. They are very helpful for students who learn through hands on experiences.
A student that I worked with in second grade was struggling with the concepts of ten and ten frames. He needed to truly grasp the concept of ten to be able to move on to identifying tens and ones when working with expanded form and larger numbers.
We went back to the basics. We worked with our ten frame egg cartons and you could see the light bulb go off! By physically putting a manipulative into each part of the egg carton, he began to see that filling it up made a ten. We worked a lot on how many more would he would need to create a "full" ten. This helped in so many ways. He began to use the ten frame as a benchmark for 10 and he was able to identify 5 and use that as a benchmark.
Eventually, we used the egg carton ten frames as base ten blocks. I ate a lot of eggs, so we would be able to have at least 10 sets of ten frames. Using these egg cartons as base ten blocks, allowed him to physically fill each space and realize that he was creating a 10 each time he filled an entire egg carton. Any left over manipulatives were "ones". By giving him an opportunity to kinesthetically fill the "tens", it made the learning concrete and more meaningful.
He was able to use these egg carton ten frames to identify tens and ones, to aid in addition and subtraction, the list goes on and on.
I just wanted to share this idea that has made learning so much easier for many of my students. It is an inexpensive way to get students to interact with ten frames on a more concrete level. AND, it's fun!!
Leave me a comment below and let me know what has worked for you to make your teaching more concrete and hands on. Do you have an experience where you could see the "light bulb" come on for one of your kiddos? Leave your email and next week I will choose one lucky comment and send you my penguin math scavenger hunt or my snowball addition unit. Both are hands on and get the students moving. I can't wait to see what you all have to say!
This post is part of the Math Madness Linky hosted by Teaching Momster!
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