Make It a Ten Combo!

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SWBAT identify combinations of 10 by playing a game with two-color counters and recording the combinations on a whiteboard.

Big Idea

Kinders need repeated practice with experiencing combinations that make 10. This lesson is number 3 in a series that allows students to unlock the mystery of what combinations make 10.

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 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.

Direct Instruction

10 minutes

I start this lesson by reading the story, My First Counting Book, by Golden Books. Although old, these stories never get boring for my kindergarteners. They just love them! The pictures of the baby animals engage them from cover to cover.

As I read the story I think aloud how many more I would need to make 10 on each page. I use my fingers to show them how I figure it out (hold up ten and put down the given number).

Once I am finished with the story, I demonstrate the activity using the doc cam.

I demonstrate the activity step by step. I show the kids how I carefully shake the cup three times. Then I gently spill out the chips. I slide the RED chips and count them first, then the YELLOW. I write down the number of red. Then I record the number of yellow leaving a space for the addition sign. I add the addition sign and the equal sign. Last, I record the total, 10.'

The still shot below shows what it looks like.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

The kids are paired up. They are assigned an A or B to avoid issues with who will play the game first. I assign partners based on academic achievement levels. High achievers are matched with Med-low and Med-highs are paired with Lows This prevents frustration which helps in maintaining positive behavior.

I have my helpers pass out the materials (one set per pair):

  • cups of two-sided chips
  • 1 whiteboard
  • dry erase marker
  • whiteboard wipe (great use for all of the socks without a mate!)


Beginning with the A's, I guide the kids step by step through the activity:

B's watch your partners and help them if they need it.

First, pick up your cup, cover it with your hand and gently shake it three times.

Next, GENTLY spill the chips out onto the table.

Now slide and count the red chips. Record the number red chips on your whiteboard. Do the same for the yellow chips. and then finish the combination that makes 10.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

As shown in the video, I have the students play on their own. I walk around the room and monitor game play. Partners should be watching each other and coaching each other throughout game play. I watch for kids who struggle to understand the structure or organization of the problem. I also watch for kids who count the total number of chips each time. This tells me that they don't understand that when looking for combinations of ten, we will always have ten chips.

I pull those students at a later time to meet one on one or in small groups to clear up any misconceptions or solidify counting concepts.


10 minutes

After we play the game, we gather back on the floor. I have the helpers collect the materials and I countdown from 5 to 0 to get the kids on the floor.

I ask two questions:

What was one thing you learned while playing the game?

Is there anything you would like to change about the game?

I let the kids lead the conversation so they can get the most out of this experience.