The Importance of Making 10 and Connecting across Strategies

As I dig deeper in this journey of operational development and students movement towards number sense fluency (proficiency) I wanted to write a post about how important it is for students to develop the Make Ten Strategy. Some people also call it Break Apart and Make Ten or Using Up/Down over Ten, whatever name you choose it is all the same strategy and the power of this strategy for students developing number sense fluency can not be overstated. It is often said Make Ten is the most powerful strategy in addition/subtraction development because of its longevity or how far it carries over into more complex strategies that are used when the problems become multi-digit. This leads me to the second part of the title of this post and that is highlighting that connection across strategy development.

I was asked to come into a grade 6 class recently and model a number talks for the teacher that would help make these connections for her students. The teacher recorded the number talk so now I am going to share it with you! Below is the number talk broke apart into four videos. Videos 1-3 cover the the 3 problems in the string. The fourth video is the quick consolidation we did to connect the Make Ten strategy across the more complex strategies. The string of problems I chose for this number talk  were these:

8 + 7=

28 + 7=

28 + 17=

Before you see the videos here are some pics from Doug Clements book “Learning and Teaching Early Math: The Learning Trajectories Approach” where he speaks to the importance of Make Ten and highlights how it is used in Japan which I found very interesting. The pages are 96 to 99 in his book if you are wanting to read the whole section.

I also like that he emphasises that students need to also see and learn other strategies too, to build fluency but by focusing on Make Ten it will help with later multidigit computations.

Here are the four videos that help show how Make Ten is connected across multiple strategies. I hope it is helpful and like I say about all my posts its not perfect and there may be some mistakes and I am always open for comments and feedback. Thanks!

Video 1- (8+7=)


Video 2- (28+7=)


Video 3- (28+17=)


Video 4- (Consolidation)

About stamp36

Instructional Leader for Trillium Lakelands District School Board
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