Shake, Spill & Count 10

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SWBAT make combinations of 10 by spilling and counting two-color counters.

Big Idea

Kinders need repeated practice with experiencing combinations that make 10. This lesson is number 2 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 story, 10 Little Bunnies. I think aloud about how many more I would need to make 10. I hold up fingers to demonstrate the concept. For instance, when their are 4 bunnies, I hold up ten fingers and put 4 of them down. I then count how many I still have up and say, "Oh, so I still need 6 more bunnies to make ten."

Once I read the entire book like this, I explain the goal for the activity and demonstrate how the kids will work with their partners.


Today you are going to make combinations of 10 by using this cup (I hold it up) and these two-sided counters (I count 10 into the cup).

Your goal is to try and remember some of the combinations of 10 that you make.

With your working partner, you will put the 10 counters in the cup, place your hand over the top and shake it three times like this (I demonstrate).

Then you will gently spill the counters out on your table, count the red ones and then the yellow. Then tell your partner the combination you make. I demonstrate spilling, counting and stating. I have 4 red counters and 6 yellow counters. I have 4 + 6. 4+6=10.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

The kids sit at the tables with their partners. They are pre-assigned by me. I match high achievers with my medium-low and my medium-high achievers with my lows. It's important not to put highs with lows. The highs get frustrated when working with the lows and this can cause discipline issues during the game. It is best practice to partner students with no more than two achievement levels apart together.

Once they are in their seats, I have my helpers pass out the materials. Then I walk through several rounds of the activity.

"Partners, make sure you are watching carefully and help when you need to."

1) Place your hand over the cup and gently shake the cup three times (we all do it together)

2) GENTLY spill the counters on the table and sort your counters.

3) Then count the red ones

4) Now count the yellows.

5) Tell your partner the combination

6) Now tell your partner the combination in a number sentence

Independent Practice

15 minutes

We continue the activity with the independent practice. During this time, I roam the room and make sure the game is being done correctly and watch to make sure partners are paying attention to each other and coaching each other when necessary.

I especially listen for partners stating the number sentences to each other as the next lesson in this series is playing this game and recording the number sentence on a whiteboard. Since the goal of this lesson is to try and remember a few combinations of 10, then making sure the kids verbally state them is important as we remember very little of what we do, but we remember most of what we say and do.


10 minutes

I have the kids (Partner A) count the counters back into the cups to make sure they are returning 10 counters. Then I have my helpers pick up all of the supplies.

I then have the kids gather back on the rug to have a closing meeting. I count down from 5 to 0 to get them gathered on the floor. I do this to get them all moving in the right direction in  timely manner and also because it reinforces the kids' skill in counting down from 20, a skill that helps them with number sense.

I ask them two questions and I call on a few kids randomly to answer each question. I pull name sticks out of a name stick can to call on students. This keeps me from calling on the same students all the time.

As the kids answer the questions, I record important or helpful information on chart paper.


1) What did you learn about combinations of 10 while working with your partner today?

2) Is there anything we should do differently while doing this activity?

The first question always brings a list of combinations that make 10 which makes a great anchor chart to post in the classroom.

The second question always leads my class to suggesting that we record the number sentences on white boards. Aha! perfect lead in for the next lesson.