Using Tens Frames for the Strategy of Bridging to Ten


The purpose of this unit is to introduce the part-whole strategy of bridging to ten.

Achievement Objectives
NA2-1: Use simple additive strategies with whole numbers and fractions.
NA2-3: Know the basic addition and subtraction facts.
Specific Learning Outcomes

Bridge to ten to solve number problems

Required Resource Materials

Blank frames


Tens frames with 9 fixed dots

  1. The teacher poses a problem. 
    Josh has 9 oranges and 6 apples.  How many does he have altogether?
  2. Teacher records 9 + 6 on the board.
  3. Teacher shows a fixed frame of 9 and asks the students to say where the six more should go without touching the tens frame.
  4. Teacher invites a student who answers that the answer is 15 to come and demonstrate how they got the answer.
  5. Teacher records the answer on the board.
  6. If the students “count-on” teacher encourages them to think about adding one and then five by asking the follow up questions: 
    Can we work it out without counting-on? Or   Is there a faster way?
  7. Repeat with 9 + 7, 9 + 6 with the students demonstrating using either the teacher’s model or individual equipment.  Teacher encourages students to explain their thinking.
  8. Teacher focuses student attention on the importance of making a ten 
    Why do you make a ten?

Note: future lessons could be extended to include 8 + ? and then 18 + ? with the pace depending on the students.


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