Using Tens Frames to Describe Patterns to Ten


The purpose of this unit is to develop instant recognition of the quinary pattern of the numbers 5-10.  This knowledge is important for building facts to ten.

Achievement Objectives
NA1-3: Know groupings with five, within ten, and with ten.
Specific Learning Outcomes

recognising and describing patterns to ten on pre-made cards

Pre-requisite Knowledge / Skills:  Able to form sets to ten

Description of Mathematics

Number Framework Stage

  • Count from One by Imaging
Required Resource Materials
Quinary tens frame flashcards for the numbers 5-10. (2 sets on different colour card ideal)
  1. Teacher holds up one card at a time and asks
    How many dots are there?
    How do you know? [E.g. for seven “There’s five and two more”]
    Students chorus back the number of dots and then the teacher goes around the group asking for individual responses.

  2. Teacher changes the focus to quick recognition of the patterns, and repeats the above asking
    How many dots are there?

  3. Repeat above asking
    How many gaps are there?

  4. Repeat above asking
    How many more do we need to get ten?

  5. Initially, teacher also asks How do you know?

  6. Teacher holds up cards one at a time and says:
    I’m looking at seven [for example], what do I see?

Broadening Activities


  • Teacher spreads two sets of cards out face up.  Students find two cards of different colours that “match”, or make ten.  This can then be developed into a memory game with the cards face down.

Note: tens frames are not the ideal piece of equipment for moving students towards the counting-on stage because the counters can still be seen and counted.  Other equipment is more suitable.

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