Addition Fluency: Adding with 0, 1, 2

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SWBAT answer problems adding 0, 1, and 2 with fluency.

Big Idea

No solving required! Children who understand why a number remains the same when added to zero will not need to memorize each combination individually. Also, fluency can increase by practicing adding 1 or 2 to a number.

Rev Them up

15 minutes

I am going to begin by building anticipation for the book Zero the Hero written and illustrated by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld. I will show this short clip from YouTube, about their character, Zero the Hero, before I read the story. Then I will ask them:

Students, what do you know about the number zero and how we use it in math? 

Could we do math without a zero? (Watch the video clip in the resource section for my student's response to this question.)

Whole Group Interaction

15 minutes

I will conduct a read aloud with the book Zero the Hero, written and illustrated by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld. I will use this book to discuss the following topics:

  • what happens when we add a number to zero?
  • what happens when we subtract zero from a number?
  • what happens when we put zero to the right of any numeral 1-9?
  • could we do math without zero?

There are two videos in the resource section for you to view my students thoughts and understandings of zero. I love how books tap into students prior knowledge and build new connections for them. 

When the book discussion is finished I will discuss what happens to numbers when we add one to it.  My goal is for my students to develop an understanding that the number just increases to the next number they would say when counting. We will practice several problems aloud together;



4+1= etc.

Then we will discuss adding 2 to a number and solve several problems aloud together:




CCSS 1.OA.C.6 has first graders developing fluency in addition through the use of multiple strategies. Children who understand why a number remains the same when added to zero, will not only be able to memorize these facts easily, but they will solidify their understanding of the concept of 0, which can be abstract for first graders. I want them to understand the meaning behind the equation so the sum is reached faster. This assists them in developing Math Practice 2 and becoming proficient in reasoning quantitatively. Zero is an important number for students to understand because it actually represents a quantity and makes a major difference in counting, place value understanding, and computation.

Independent Practice

10 minutes

Students will practice solving problems adding 0, 1, and 2. It is important for First Graders to develop fluent math facts skills now because it will affect their success in later grades. They need to be able to solve addition and subtraction quickly to move onto more difficult and multi-step problems. Students must be able to reason quantitatively to become math proficient. (MP2). When their work is complete, I will ask them to show me their paper. If everything is correct, they are going to create Zero the Hero, available on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can go here to  get the free "Zero the Hero Craftivity." Zero the Hero will be glued to the top of the worksheet. There are several pieces to Zero the Hero and I will develop a central location in the room for students to grab everything when their worksheet is complete. If I were to give them all their supplies up front, it would distract them from the work required on the worksheet. Check the resource section to view pictures and a video of students gathering materials and working.

Lesson Extension

3 minutes

Here is a great connection between the character "Zero the Hero" and literature. This e-book adds to the children's knowledge of how zero is important in counting. After watching the video, I will have them write their numbers, counting by tens to 120.