What Makes 3, 4 & 5?

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SWBAT understand that the quantities of 3, 4, and 5 can be made of a variety of different combinations by breaking number towers apart.

Big Idea

Once kindergartners have a basic understanding of addition, they need to understand that quantities greater than two have several combinations that make the same amount. The larger the quantity, the more combinations making that quantity.

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

To begin this lesson, I read a counting book. Any counting to 5 book works. I chose to read 5 Little Ducks. The book is written in the same fashion as 5 Little Monkeys so the kids love it. As I read the book, we keep track of the ducks by counting the ducks that leave and the ducks that stay. All the combinations that make 5 are experienced throughout the story. 

Me: (a few pages into the book) How many ducks have disappeared?

Students: 2 (holding up 2 fingers)

Me: How many ducks are still left?

Students: 3 (holding up 3 fingers on the other hand)

Me: So what is 2 and 3?

Students: 5

Me: Good job! Keep listening for those combinations of 5.

We read the remainder of the book and continue keeping count on our fingers. This activity primed our brains for experiencing combinations of 3, 4 and 5.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For the guided practice, I have my helper pass out bags of counting snapping cubes. I instruct her to give students that sit next to each other different color blocks. This way I can monitor use of materials and the kids can keep track of their tools better.

I guide them in having a hands-on experience with the combinations of  3, 4 and 5.

Me: Take 3 blocks out of your bag and build a tower. Once you build your tower, hold it up in the air.

Once the kids have their towers made I tell them to close their eyes and break their towers wherever they can. I then have them tell me their parts and I record them on our poster.

We continued to do this for 4 and 5.

We do this guided practice to develop a concrete understanding of what parts of a whole are. We build the towers, break them into two pieces and record the parts on our poster. Once we have all the combinations recorded, we continue to make and break 3, 4, and 5 to have repeated experiences so we can build fluency.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

For independent practice, I have the kids continue to make and break 3, 4 and 5 but without my guidance.

Me: Okay, it's time to show combinations of 3, 4 and 5 on your own. I'll tell you the whole (what number tower) and then you will break it and tell us your parts.

The first tower is 4.

Students build 4 towers and break them apart. I draw names from a name stick can to ask what parts they made.

Student 1: 1 and 3

Me: Let's check our poster. Look under 4. Is 1 and 3 one of the combinations? (I have them do this to introduce them to the concept of checking their work.

Student 1: It' s right there and he points to 1 and 3 on the chart.

Me: Okay, let's all say it together, "1 and 3 is 4." Good work, guys! I pull another name from the can. "Do you have a different combination for 4?"

Student 2: 2 and 2 is 4

Me: Okay, look on the chart to see if 2 and 2 is in the what makes 4 column.

Student 2: Yes, it is.

Me: Great! Let's say it together, "2 and 2 is 4." Did anyone come up with any other combinations. I choose a student with a raised hand.

Student 3: I have 4 and 0.

Me: 4 and 0? Did you break your tower?

Student 3: I PRETENDED to break my tower, Mrs. Gunn. 0 is a real number and I wanted to use it so I made 0 and 4.

Me: (This little girl is always amazing me) That's awesome Joann. You are correct. 0 is a real number and we should not ignore it. We should make combinations with 0. Thank you for reminding us.

Student 3: Maybe we should make those first from now on.

Me: I think that's a good idea.

We continue like this through the combinations of 5. Of course we started with 0 and 5 and then 5 and 0.

Exit Ticket

10 minutes

The exit ticket is a blank half a sheet of copy paper. They are asked to write down two different combinations of 5. They are encouraged to use their blocks if they need them. They can write a number sentence or they could draw a picture. Either is acceptable as long as they can show the combinations that make 5.

Since this lesson is so early in the unit, I am only looking for correctly paired numbers, not correct writing of the algorithm. I pull kids that are struggling with the concept of combinations to experience further guided instruction in a small group. I also look for those who may need one on one interaction. Those are usually the ones who still struggle with counting.