The rigorous common core standards want my students to be able to reason abstractly and quantitatively, yet really think about the steps they are using when computing. First Graders begin solving quantitatively with concrete methods of using strategies and models. They begin to transition to abstract thought as they build fluency in solving addition facts. (MP2). But these standards also take into account that the faster our students are able to compute a simple fact, the more they will be able to attend to the more complicated pieces of problems they will encounter in future math equations. CCSS expects fluency in solving addition facts and in first grade our goal is to achieve this by the end of the year. (1.OA.C.6). I will have them working all year to master this standard.
To get them ready for today's lesson, I will have them play a game of mental math. You need to tailor the game to your group of kids. For my class I might say, "Start with 5, double it, add 1." or "Start with 2, add 3, add 1 more." You can play this throughout the year, but remember to increase the speed and complexity. You can also use it for subtraction practice.
I will use a class set of flashcards to review addition facts. These cards will include; plus 0, doubles, near doubles, plus 1, and plus 2. I want them to memorize as many addition facts as possible because this will assist them in solving future, more difficult problems, faster. I will pass out our class set of whiteboards and dry-erase pens. As I show a card, students will write their answers on their board and hold it up. This will ensure everyone participates and allow me to check answers.
Print the paper towers worksheet and make copies for every student.
Pass out the paper towers worksheets and give your students a time frame to solve their addition problems. I will encourage them to work fast and use any addition strategy to solve. Check out the video of one of my students using counting up to solve some of her problems. My goal is for them to hopefully have several problems already memorized and to only need to solve a few. Some students are still relying on addition strategies to solve math facts and others have already memorized many of them and are building fluency in solving them. It is appropriate for both to be occurring at this time.
After the problems are complete, I will show them which lines to cut on and do a model with them. After the papers are separated into strips, I will show them how to fold their tower pieces. Pick someone to be your partner and show them how to play the game. The goal is to stack the pieces on top of each other until they fall over. Whoever makes them fall, loses. Watch the video in the resource section of me playing the game with a student and a picture of pieces being stacked.
The stacking towers could be printed and placed in a center for students to practice their problems. They loved being able to build something. It was just the right motivator to get them to fly through their math facts and be ready for the game. Look at the picture of them having fun playing the game. The more practice they get in solving addition equations, the more fluent they will become. Check the resource section for more playing sheets with different problems.