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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

The Power of Decomposing Ten

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

This week, I wanted to talk about an oldie but a goodie. When students are learning their math facts, we often jump straight to the abstract math facts. We hope that as students work with the equations, they will begin to memorize them.

However, it's time we get back to the concrete and the pictorial representations to help students create visual pictures. As students create visual memory, the odds of them building neural pathways increases. This literally gives them more paths to recall a memory.

Think about it as a filing system. If a math fact is in a file, and there's only one way to retrieve it, it can take time. However, if there's a cross-filing system to retrieve it, then a student can recall it much more quickly. When there's more than one memory tied to that math fact, the brain can retrieve any of the recalled memories. It might be a picture or a concrete representation.

This is one of my favorite activities. I provide students with counters and let them work on facts within 5-10. They draw a number bond and then write the related addition fact. This is becoming a daily activity while we work on facts within 10.

Go ahead and grab your dry erase markers while putting these pages in a page protector. Encourage your students to play them while working on different facts. I hope your students enjoy using them as much as mine have!

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