Spin It Addition!

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SWBAT solve addition problems to 10 by playing a spinner game with a partner using objects, drawings and numbers.

Big Idea

Kindergarteners love to play games. Learning games can help students expand on concepts, learn new things, and build on what they already know. In this lesson, kindergartners use spinners to count and add with a partner. It's a class favorite!

Calendar & Daily Counting Practice

10 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon.  This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a  “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.

Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched "Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.


5 minutes

Before we play Spin it - Addition, we review what the addition and subtraction signs mean. I hold up the addition sign and ask, "What is this?" Kids answer, "Addition sign!" I ask, "What do you do when you see it?" Kids say, "Get more!"

I hold up the equal sign and ask, "What is this?" Kids say, "Equal sign!" I ask, "What does it mean?" Kids say, "Same as!"

Then we move on to play the game:

Here's how we prepare to play the game.  I place one set of spinners with every two students (learning partners) and tell the kids not to touch them until they are told to. I am very strict about this because if they move the spinners before we play, it delays the game and then they become distracted and are not able to follow directions well.

I give each student a clear sandwich bag with 10 same-color cubes. I tell the students to leave the cubes in the bag and not touch them until I tell them they can. I have them hold their hands in the air and then place their hands in their laps before I pass out the bags of cubes. I do not give a bag of cubes to anyone who does not have their hands in their lap, and I take the bag of cubes away if anyone touches them before they are instructed to. The kids really like this addition game, so they do a very good job of following directions and not touching the cubes until I tell them to. I celebrate when I do not have to take anyone's cubes. Yahoo!

Once everyone has a bag of cubes, we once more review the signs that we will be using for the game. I hold up a picture of an addition sign. I ask them what it means when they see this sign (+)?

Me: "What do you do?"

Next, I show them the equal sign.

Me: "What does it mean?"

Students: "The same as!"

Me: "What does the same as mean? What do we need to do?"

Students: "You have to count how many!" (They count how many blocks they have in front of them on the table.)

Management Tip: I give each student at the same table different color cubes so they can avoid mixing up the materials as they play the game. This avoids disruptive arguments and tattling like, "He took my cubes!" while in play. It also allows me to keep track of who is using the manipulatives responsibly. If I see a red block on the floor under a table, I know exactly whose block it is because only one student in that group has red blocks.


20 minutes

When we play Spin It Addition, I am looking to see if my students can:

  • count objects 1:1 accurately
  • put two groups of objects together to make a new larger group
  • recount accurately how many are in the new group altogether.

I also take note of who can and cannot work well with a partner. I use observation recording boxes to keep notes on what I observe (see below).

I start by telling the kids the goal for the game. I have my students repeat the goal after I state it. It is important that the kids understand that the focus is on the goal and NOT on the game itself. The game is simply a means to the desired result. We read and repeat the kid-friendly "I can" statement and I ask the kids to tell me what they think it means. I choose three random volunteers from the class Stick Can.

Playing the game:

If you were to visit my class during a Spin It Addition game, here is what you would hear:

Me: Hands up! (I say this because I notice some of my kids starting to touch their bag of blocks). The kids all put their hands up instantly.

Me: Hands in your lap! They all put their hands in their lap. This put their brains in "play" mode and they are ready for the next direction.

Me: Pumpkins, use the first spinner and spin the spinner one time, then reach in and count out that number of blocks. Place the blocks on your side of the board. Bats, rally coach your partner so you can make sure they are counting correctly. Rally coaching is a form of partner work. One student counts while the other keeps track counting in their head. If a partner disagrees, they politely ask for a recount.

Me: Bats, raise up one hand, spin the second spinner one spin. Then count out that many blocks from your bag. Place them on the board. Pumpkins, rally coach your partner so you can make sure they are counting correctly.

Once the individual counting is done, I show them the + sign and they push all the blocks to the other side of the equal sign on the board. I instruct them to put their blocks together into a single tower and count how many they have altogether.

I walk around the room, ask each team how many they have altogether and I check for accuracy. They take their towers apart and put their blocks back in their bags.

We play 6 to 8 rounds of this game.

Management TipI strategically seat my students so they are partnered up High with Medium low, Medium high with Low (near peer partnerships). This way everyone can help each other play without getting frustrated. The kids wear their stickers for 6 weeks and then I change them. The groups are fluid so a Medium Low student who suddenly blossoms can be made a medium high or a high. I use stickers that go with holidays or seasons.

Stick CanI write each student's name on a popsicle stick and place it in a plastic jar or can and I pull out random names to answer questions in class. Most of the time a sentence frame is provided to support vocabulary and complete sentence formation.


5 minutes

We gather on the floor and I pull random names from our stick can. I ask the kids how the game went, if they worked well with their partner and if they learned anything new today.

Talking Partners:

I then ask them to turn to their talking partner and tell them what their favorite part of the game was. I choose a few kids to share with the class what their partner said.

Management Tip: Talking partners and working partners are different. They are still matched up by pumpkins and bats, but they sit close to each other on our rug area for quick and easy access. I often pair up a quiet kid with a semi-outspoken student who can gently encourage them to talk.

Exit Ticket

5 minutes

I give the kids five minutes to complete this four problem worksheet (downloaded from worksheetfun.com) to see if they can transfer what they learned from playing the game to an independent addition activity. This allows me to keep an eye on any students who are struggling with the concept of basic addition to ten.

Management Tip: To keep the kids from copying each others' answers, use two old file folders stapled together to make "offices" to keep their work concealed. Instruct them to turn over their paper as soon as they are finished and hold up their hands for you to collect them  as soon as they are done. I do not allow them to bring their work to me because it causes too much traffic in the classroom and is disruptive for the slower-to-finish students. I also give the faster students an extra coloring/counting job to keep them occupied while the other kids finish the exit ticket.

When you review the exit tickets, form three groups:

Meets -  they get to do an independent extension activity the next day

Approaches - play the game again in small groups with minimal guidance from the teacher

Falls Below - small group with direct instruction from the teacher (reteach)