Why Ten Frame and Base Ten Blocks help Students Learn Math

Here’s why ten frames and base ten blocks are particularly effective:

Ten frames

Visual representation: Ten frames provide a visual structure that helps students easily see numbers and their relationships. Each frame can hold up to 10 items, making it easier to grasp the concept of numbers up to 10.

Subitizing: This is the ability to recognize the number of objects in a small group without counting. Ten frames help students develop this skill, which is crucial for efficient mental math.

Composing and decomposing numbers: By filling and arranging counters in the ten frame, students can see how numbers are made up of other numbers. For example, they can see that 7 is made up of 5 and 2, which is helpful for addition and subtraction.

Foundation for place value: Understanding that 10 is a significant number in our number system sets the stage for grasping place value, where numbers are grouped in tens.

Base 10 blocks

Concrete representation of place value: Base 10 blocks (units, rods, flats, and cubes) physically represent ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. This helps students understand the place value system, where the position of a digit determines its value.

Hands-on learning: Manipulating these blocks helps students make the connection between abstract numbers and their concrete representations. This kinesthetic learning can reinforce understanding and retention.

Building larger numbers: By combining units into rods (10 units), rods into flats (100 units), and flats into cubes (1,000 units), students can see how larger numbers are constructed. This is particularly useful for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of multi-digit numbers.

Understanding operations: Base 10 blocks are useful for demonstrating mathematical operations. For instance, when adding or subtracting, students can physically combine or take apart the blocks, making the process more understandable.

Grade 1 ten frames and base ten blocks

In our grade 1 math section we have a series of worksheets that focus on ten frames and base ten blocks of tens and ones.

Counting with ten frames practice

In these worksheets, students count or draw up to 20 markers using ten frames.

Counting with ten frames worksheets

Making 10 with ten frames

Next, students work on the complements to 10. How many more ones does it take to make 10?

Making ten with ten frames worksheets

Addition with ten frames worksheets

Students now start addition: adding up to 10 or 20 counters using ten frames.

Addition with ten frames worksheets

Regrouping into blocks of 10

Students regroup single blocks into tens and ones in these worksheets.

Regrouping into blocks of 10 worksheets

Counting using base 10 blocks

Next, blocks are set up in rods of tens and ones for students to count, making 2-digit numbers.

Counting using base 10 blocks

Breaking a number into tens and ones

The reverse happens in these worksheets, where students draw ten and one blocks to represent 2-digit numbers.

Breaking a number into tens and ones worksheets

Addition with base 10 blocks practice

The final, more advanced, worksheets have students drawing two sets of blocks and then adding them.

Addition with base 10 blocks worksheets
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