ALEX Lesson Plan


Adding with the Associative Property

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Whittany Nolen
System: Lanett City
School: Lanett City Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 32730


Adding with the Associative Property


Students will learn ways to add using the associative property of addition. Students will view a PowerPoint presentation to introduce associative property of addition.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 1
3 ) Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract. (Students need not use formal terms for these properties.) [1-OA3]

Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known (Commutative property of addition)

                To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12 (Associative property of addition)

MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 1
6 ) Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13). [1-OA6]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.1.6- Add and subtract numbers 1 to 15 using objects, pictures, and fingers.

Local/National Standards:

1. Count with understanding and recognize "how many" sets are in an object.

2. Develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction.

3. Use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.

Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will solve 3 addend addition problems by using the associative property.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

  1. Student will work in small cooperative groups of 2-4.
  2. Students will respond to and create questions appropriate to the concept being taught.
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

1. Pencils and crayons

2. Two-sided counters

3. Math journals (one per child)

4. Dry-erase board and markers for teacher

5. Bear Counters (red, blue, & green)

6. Vocabulary cards (addend, sum, commutative property, & associative property)

Technology Resources Needed:

  1. Computer
  2. Internet access
  3. Document camera
  4. Projector and screen
  5. Promethean Flipchart Viewer Software (if you are not a Promethean Board user.)


Students must have a general understanding of number sense and adding numbers or set objects. Students also must have previously mastered the commutative property of addition.


The teacher will display key vocabulary for this lesson: addend, sum, and commutative property. Briefly, the teacher will display/read each vocabulary card and discuss their meanings. The cards will remain on display with their meaning out beside them on the board.

The teacher will review the commutative property of addition by using two-sided counters. The teacher will write a few addition problems on the board like 4+2=6 and 2+4=6.

Using the document camera, the teacher will model how to use the two-sided counters to solve the first set of problems.

With a partner, the student will use the two-sided counters to find the sum and flip the addends to show the commutative property with each problem. Each group will do 3-4 problems. 

Bring the students back together and review the idea that commutative property means that the addends can be added in any order and the sum will still be the same. The teacher will also introduce the new vocabulary term to the list of math words.  The teacher will write the following on the board: (a+b)+c=a+(b+c).

To demonstrate this property, the teacher will ask for 6 volunteers.  The teacher will say (1+2)+3=6.  The teacher will group the volunteers like the problem. One student plus two students and then plus three more will equal six. Then she will ask the class what will happen if she groups those students differently.  The teacher will explain that, like the commutative property, the sum will remain the same even with the addends are changed.

The teacher will show an interactive flipchart. (See attached file. You will need ActivInspire Software to view the file.)  In this flipchart, the students will be interactive by solving and answering questions with virtual manipulatives (linking cubes).  Each letter in the associative property will be represented by a different color.  The letter a will be green, the letter b will be red, and the color c will be blue.

On the last slide of the flipchart, the teacher will have 3 problems for the student to solve.  The students will be grouped by 3's.  Each group will use bear counter in the colors green, red, and blue.  The groups will work together to solve the 3 problems by using the associative property.  

In their math journals, the students will record their results from the 3 problems.

**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

Assessment Strategies

  1. Teacher observations
  2. Math journal samples


Students may also visit the following websites for additional work with this skill:

Have student solve problems that have 3 addends.


Work individually or in small groups to help those who have trouble with adding more than two numbers together. Also, try varying the type of manipulative. Try using bears, linking cubes, straws, marbles, drawings, etc.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.