Math Background

Modeling Addition: Tips and Tricks

  • Use a variety of classroom objects as manipulatives. Let children use crayons, paper clips, books, and so on. Whenever possible, have children work with the actual objects that are shown in their books.
  • Make your own manipulatives by cutting out, or having the children cut out, pictures from magazines and laminating them. Or have children draw a picture of a single item, such as an insect, a bird, or a tree. Then duplicate and laminate the drawings for use as manipulatives.
  • Children can make math collages to illustrate addition sentences. Have children glue items such as buttons, leaves, or pasta onto paper.
  • Children will enjoy acting out addition stories. Have two small groups of children stand in front of the class. Ask each group to count off to find their total number. Then combine the groups and have them count off again to find the sum.
  • Give children a small cup and up to 8 beans that have one side painted red. Have children turn the cup over so that the beans spill onto a desk. Then have children write addition sentences in which one addend is the number of red beans and the other is the number of nonred beans. Vary the number of beans to reinforce different sums.
  • Assign the three numbers in a fact family to a child and challenge children to think of all the ways they could write the addition facts involving those three numbers. For example, a child assigned 3, 5, and 8 could write the following.
    3 + 5 = 8 is the same as 8 = 3 + 5

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1