Reflection: Lesson Planning Houses of Addition - Section 2: Teaching the Lesson


I knew in advance that this lesson breeds chaos. Give 19 students a partner and some base 10 blocks and all they want to do is play. Children learn from play so that isn't all bad, but for today I really wanted students to walk through the double digit addition with me. 

The students were busy, but mostly on task. They were talking to their partners and calling out when they had an answer (even when I asked them to raise their hands). They were excited. Two students who usually dread math both told me at the end of the lesson that math was really fun today. So, was the chaos worth it?

I have to say that it was worth every second of it. Students were manipulating base ten blocks. They saw that they could not add 35 + 56 and get 811 because even though they had 8 tens and 11 ones, they had no hundred's blocks, so there had to be another step to get a logical answer. 

Some of the students wanted to jump ahead and do the work in their heads. They didn't want to build the numbers with blocks. Interestingly, they could get the answer, but when I questioned them about the tens and ones, they weren't sure how they got the answer. "I just knew it," one child said. I asked them to go back and record the number of ones in the equation, and then the number of tens and they were a bit confused. 

I told the students that using blocks to make models is a really good way to understand harder math problems and I was proud of them for being willing to try.

The chaos was worth the outcome. Students have a new strategy to work with, one that is based on their understanding of place value, which is so important in Common Core learning. They still need lots of practice with the strategy, but this was a beginning worth doing.

  From Chaos to Understanding
  Lesson Planning: From Chaos to Understanding
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Houses of Addition

Unit 11: The Numbers Are Getting Bigger
Lesson 2 of 15

Objective: SWBAT use a tens/ones mat to solve double-digit addition problems based on place value strategies.

Big Idea: Using the analogy of an apartment house made up of the tens and ones apartments, upstairs, middle and downstairs, students build and solve 2-digit addition problems.

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4 teachers like this lesson
Math, Place Value, Number Sense and Operations, addition algorithm, base ten
  45 minutes
screen shot 2014 01 26 at 7 55 04 pm
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