Down on the Farm: Base 10 Problems

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SWBAT apply their understanding of place value to help them solve story problems.

Big Idea

Students have been learning about tens and ones. This day allows them to apply what they know to a "real life" farm crisis! The chickens have laid a bunch of eggs and students have to figure out how many the farmer is collecting!

Setting Up the Learning

7 minutes


We have been working on counting and tens and ones and thinking about how we build different numbers. Today we are going to use what we have been learning to solve story problems. These problems are all about chickens so let’s start our time with a fun chicken counting song!

(Go to this link for the Harry Kindergarten youtube song!)



We are going to be using big numbers in our story problems one day so we need to understand how to break these numbers into groups. Using those groups will help us as we figure out how to add and subtract these groups later in the year.


Objective :

Your thinking job today is: How can I solve story problems using what I know about 10s and 1s?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

To set student engagement, I'll start by saying: "We are going to be working in the chicken coop, where the chickens have been laying lots of eggs! It is our job to figure out how many eggs they have laid so we can take them to the market."

See attached video for the WHY behind this problem choice! 

"While you read the problem, I want you to think about what happened in this problem so you can tell a partner."

The chicken  has 5 nests. Each nest has 10 eggs in it.

The chicken  has 1 extra egg.

How many eggs does the chicken have?


After reading 2 times, students can turn to a partner and retell the story problem.

Guiding Questions (after students partner talk):

  • What is going on with this problem?
  • What does the chicken have?
  • What do we know about the nests? How many eggs are in the nests?
  • Do we only have the eggs in the nest? No! We have 1 extra egg that couldn’t fit in the nest.
  • What are we trying to figure out?


Student copy of the problem, along with 5 circles for "nests" is attached! I included "nests" to give students a mental image of the problem. This scaffold allows for much needed concrete modeling in 1st grade!

Student Work Time and Strategy Share

20 minutes

While students work independently on the problem, I'll work with students or small groups based on the strategies they are using. 

For a list of possible strategies and "push" questions for each level of thinking, see attached document.

I’ll choose 2 strategies to share, one that is more concrete and uses base 10 blocks and one that just uses the tens and ones to help him/her solve.


Guiding Questions during Strategy Share:

  • How did they count the eggs? Why did they group count them by 10s?
  • Why didn’t they count the extra 1 by 10s?
  • How did this person “just know” there were 51? What did they use to help them figure it out? What about the number 51 helped them?

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students solve story problems. To help support students at all levels of understanding, I created different problems for each student group.

Group A: Intervention

Students are solving problems on the decade only.


Group B: Right on track

Students solve problems similar to the opening discussion problem. Students work with numbers that have tens and ones.

Group C: Extension

Students are decomposing a number into tens and ones (much more difficult!)



5 minutes

Students share their first problem with a partner to review the day's learning.