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The Best Math Activities to Teach Students How to Make 10

I can't overstate the importance of young elementary students internalizing the ways to make ten. We have a base 10 math system, so understanding the ways to make ten can be extended to making 100, 1,000, etc. Students can also use "ten friends" to make math facts easier by "decomposing one of the addends to make a ten from the other" - check out this blog post to learn more about that addition strategy.


But today we are focusing on helping kids internalize the ways to make ten. That has to come first. And there are sooo many ways to make these learning experiences fun! Keep reading to learn more and snag an exclusive coupon code for Melon Rind math games!


1. Clumsy Thief Jr. Card Game (Ages 5+, 2-4 players)

My third graders and I are obsessed with Clumsy Thief games! In this game, students try to make matches with pairs of cards that have a sum of ten. They can also steal cards from each other by continuing to make 10 with the cards on the top of the pairs. There are also special thief cards which prevent other players from stealing a deck. The person with the most cards at the end wins!


Kids love the fast-paced nature of the game and have a blast trying to snag the most cards before the deck runs out. This youtube video from Melon Rind does a great job explaining the game. Show it to your kids before you model it in person!

When your kids are ready, Melon Rind also has a version of Clumsy Thief that involves making 20, and making 100. Plus, they have other card games that involve making 12, making 25, adding and subtracting one...the list goes on. Check out all of their games on the Melon Rind website and use code "superstars" for 15% off from now until August 31st! (This is not an affiliate link, I just really love their products).


2. Hands-On Practice with Mini Erasers and Ten Frames

Students always need a hands-on way to practice math concepts. I love mini erasers (and often find $1 packs at the Target Dollar Spot) so I made this resource with fun, engaging activities involving mini erasers and number sense activities. Make 10 and Show Me... are independent activities designed to help students practice making combinations of 10 by physically building the combinations on the ten frames with mini erasers.


3. How Many Am I Hiding? Partner Game

How Many Am I Hiding? is a partner math game designed to help students practice finding missing addends and using combinations of numbers. They will decide on the total amount first (make 10!) and then one partner will hide some of the erasers. The other partner will see the remaining erasers and need to determine how many erasers are hiding. (Adapted from Math Investigations). Snag this activity and more from my TpT store.


4. Virtual Practice with Ten Frames

This interactive ten frame game from NCTM gives students practice with identifying quantities on a ten frame, building quantities on a ten frame, completing a ten frame (see image below), and adding on the ten frame. This would be a great independent activity during math workshop or to recommend when parents ask for at-home remediation activities.

What are your favorite activities to help kids make ten? Which Melon Rind math game captures your interest? Don't forget to use my coupon code and save before it expires August 31, 2022.


Happy Teaching!


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