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Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Making 10: Part 2

Subject Area





In this activity, students will practice composing a set of 10 objects in multiple ways to gain an understanding of the various ways 10 can be composed.

This activity was created as a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): KG


    For any number from 0 to 10, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, by using concrete objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.

    Unpacked Content



    • Compose


    Students know:
    • Characteristics of addition and subtraction contexts such as putting together, adding to, taking apart, and taking from.


    Students are able to:
    • Represent quantities and operations physically, pictorially, or symbolically.


    Students understand that:
    • two smaller quantities join to create a larger target quantity.
    • A quantity may be broken into smaller quantities.
    • Mathematical tools and representations (ten frames and ten fingers) can be used to solve problems efficiently.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will demonstrate an understanding of various ways to compose 10.

    Activity Details

    1. The teacher will gather students to carpet or another area of the room where they can all easily view the demonstration. The teacher will have the following materials for the demonstration: Ten Frame Puzzles and the Making Ten Recording Sheet (optional).

    2. The teacher will display a complete Ten Frame Puzzle and ask students, "What is this?" (ten frame), "What do we know about a ten frame?" (there are ten spaces, it holds ten objects, etc).

    3. The teacher will display 1 part of ten frame puzzle and ask students, "What is this?" (part of a ten frame), "What do I need to do to fix it?" (add the missing pieces), "How many pieces do I need to add to make a complete set of ten?" The teacher will demonstrate searching for missing pieces while "thinking out loud" to demonstrate how they know what to look for. (Examples: I have 7 cupcakes [show 7 on fingers] demonstrate counting on to 10 using fingers. I need to find 3 dots to fill the ten frame. The teacher could also model counting missing spaces on a ten frame or knowing 7+3=10).

    4. Model a few more rounds working with a student partner. Model making mistakes in the puzzle and having students explain why they are mistakes and how to fix it (Example: Select 4 cupcakes and 5 dots, ask the partner if they agree with your pairings. When they disagree ask why and have them or another student explain why the pairing does not work).

    5. Pair students. Give each set of students a set of ten frame puzzles. Allow students to work to complete all ten frame puzzles, discussing the pairings they are using to make ten. Optional: Give students the recording sheet to record their ten frame equations.

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Informal Assessment/Observation: As students work, ask them to explain their pairings and why they work together to complete the ten frame. Also, ask students questions similar to "Could you make a ten frame with 7 cupcakes and 1 dot? Why or why not?"

    Assessment of Recording Sheet: The teacher will note whether students were able to successfully create equations equalling ten.

    Variation Tips

    If available in your classroom, allow students to use a number balance or an online number balance to demonstrate the equality of each pair of numbers to 10. (Example: 10 on one side of the number balance, 9 and 1 on the other side to demonstrate the equality of the two sets of numbers.)


    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    Prior to teaching the activity, the teacher will need to:

    create student groups.

    prepare a set of Ten Frame Puzzles for each group of students.

    prepare a Recording Sheet for each student (optional).

    Digital Tools / Resources