Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Counting Up to Solve Problems - Section 3: Teaching the Lesson


As I worked today with the group of students struggling with the relative position of numbers, I began to see some progress. We looked at our blank number lines and I asked if they always had to start at 1 to count to the number they wanted. I asked what if the number they were looking for was a large number such as 68? The students looked at the number line and several students decided to start at 1, but count by 10s to get to sixty, and then go a little further to mark 68. 

This shows me that they are beginning to understand that 68 is 6 tens and a little more. This is a place value concept that some of these children did not have before. They didn't understand that 68 and 86 were different numbers. By being able to show me that 68 has 6 tens, they are showing a change in their thinking.

I don't want students just to memorize that the tens place is the second digit, because this won't help them later when they begin decimals. I want them to remember that the tens place represents bundles of ten. 

Teachers think this is obvious and often think a single lesson is enough for students to understand place value, but it is a deep concept, and one that is foundational to later mathematical understanding.

  Beginning to Make Sense
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Beginning to Make Sense
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Counting Up to Solve Problems

Unit 2: Adding and Subtracting the Basics
Lesson 3 of 18

Objective: SWBAT count forward by 1's, 2's, 5's or 10's to solve an addition problem containing one and two digit numbers.

Big Idea: The Common Core standards expect addition and subtraction fluency with one and two digit numbers. Students need to develop efficient fluency strategies.

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