What Makes Ten?

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SWBAT identify how many more objects they will need to make ten when given a number of objects by using a ten-train.

Big Idea

Kinders need repeated practice with experiencing combinations that make 10. This lesson is number 6 in a series that allows kids to discover those combinations on their own in a fun and exciting way.

Daily Calendar & Counting Review

15 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 backcounting by tens to 100 and counting to 100by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.

Direct Instruction

10 minutes

I begin this lesson by reading the book, Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews. As I read the story I think aloud how to figure out the combinations that make 10.

Me: On this page there is only one black dot. I wonder how many more I would need to make 10. Let's see. I could count up on my fingers. There is already one dot (I make a fist and touch my chin for the 1), so I need 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 (raising a finger for each as I count). I counted nine more times to get to ten. I need nine more to make ten.

I continue reading and counting like this to the end of the story. The kids naturally join in on the counting up part. I don't mind because the repeated experience is good for them.

I then introduce the goal for this lesson:

Today we are going to try to figure out how many more we will need to make ten when we are given a number of objects.

I demonstrate what I mean:

For example, (I hold up a ten tower) if I have 4 (I break off 4 and count them) how many more do I need to make 10? I can count this tower to find out (I count the remaining blocks). 6, I need 6 more to make 10. So I know that 4 and 6 make 10. Maybe later, when I get really good at making 10, I won't need to count the cubes anymore. I'll just know it or I could count up.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

For this section, I have the daily helper pass out bags of single color blocks to each student (I pre-bag 10 blocks in one color). I instruct the helper to make sure that kids sitting close to each other have different color blocks. This keeps the kids from mixing up their materials and also allows me to identify who manages and mismanaged their materials.

Once everyone has their materials, I instruct the kids to build a 10 tower and count it again to double check their work and make sure it is a tower of 10, not 9 or 11 (you never know, there could be a miscounted bag).

Me: Hold up your tower when you're finished building and checking it. I wait for all towers to be held up.

Okay, good job on building your towers. Now we are going to find out how many more we need together.

You have 7. How many more do you need to make 10?

Everyone break 7 off of your ten-tower and put it down on the floor. How many do you have left?

Students: 3!

Me: Exactly! You have 3 left. That means you need 3 more to make 10. You had a ten-tower. You took off 7. To have 10 again, you need 3 more.

I purposely do not say "blocks" because I don't want them to attach to the blocks. I want them to connect to the numbers and combinations. This way, it won't matter what objects they are working with in the future and transferring to strictly numbers will be easier.

Alright, let's do another one. You have 4. How many do you need to make 10? (I pause before I guide to give them a chance to remember what to do before I tell them).

Student (yells out): Do we take off 4?

Me: Yes, that's the first step. Good job remembering! (The students remove 4 blocks)

Me: I repeat the second part of the question, "How many more do you need to make 10?"

Students (some automatically lay down the 4 and start counting the remaining blocks in their hands): 6

Me: I pull a name-stick from a name-stick can and call on a random student. I ask, "How do you know you need 6 more?"

Student: I know I need 6 more because I had 4 and took them off and now I need these 6, see?.

I continue to guide them in this manner until time is up or until I feel they are ready to move on to independent practice.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

For independent practice, I have the kids continue in the same manner of the as the guided practice except there is no help from me. If they get stuck, they look to their floor partner or a neighbor for guidance. I do remind them to put the ten-train back together after each problem because they always seem to forget. :)

As seen in the video (below), I give them a number of how many they have and then provide wait time. "You have 3."

Once I see they are ready for the question I ask, "How many more do you need to make 10?"

Students: 7!

We continue to practice like this until we run out of time for this section. If your math period is shorter than an hour, please adjust accordingly. The closure of a lesson is very important and should never be missed.


10 minutes

For closure, we discuss what we learned and we review our What Makes Ten poster that we made in the lesson, It makes ten (snapping 10 Towers)! I ask the following questions for discussion:

How is this lesson different from what we did yesterday? (It makes ten lesson)

What did you learn from this lesson?

What do you need to know about combinations of ten?


Me: How is this lesson DIFFERENT from what we did yesterday?

Student 1 (randomly picked from raised hands): Yesterday we had both parts and we told you both. Today we had to put one down and tell you just one part.

Me: Awesome, thank you! I like how you explained it completely.

Student 2: Yesterday we could count both parts and tell you. Today we had to remember one and count only one.

Me: That was a good explanation. I like how you said you have to remember the number I gave you to find out how many more you need.

Next question, "What did you learn from this lesson? Give yourself 30 seconds or so to think about it before you raise your hand."

Student 1: I learned to remember the number you told us so I could count how many more I needed to make 10.

Me: Great! Remembering how many you already have is very important. If you don't remember how many you have, you won't be able to figure out how many more you need.

Student 2: I learned to remember the combinations.

Me: Can you explain what you mean by you learned to remember the combinations?

Student 2: I learned that I can say 4 and 6 makes 10 in my head like we did yesterday. It's okay that the 4 is on the floor and not in my hand.

Me: That's great! Did you all understand what she was saying? She says the combinations in her head each time so she can learn to remember them. I think we should all do that! What do you think? (It is important to get buy-in).

Students: Yeah! (random student yells): I want to remember them!

Me: That leads me to the final question, "What do you need to know about combinations of ten?"

Student: I need to know how many more I need to make 10 when I have some already.

Me: Exactly. I like how you used the vocabulary that was in the lesson.

Student 2: I think I learned that I need to know the combinations that make 10 because if I know those then I will already know how more I need to make 10.

Me: WOW! That is exactly what I was hoping someone would say! The goal is for you to learn the combinations of 10 so well that you don't even have to think hard to figure out how many more you need to make 10 because it never changes. If you have 3, you will always need 7 to make 10. So let's go over the poster we made yesterday so we can start to remember those combinations that make 10 just like we remembered the combinations that make 5.