Hands-On Number Bonds

I'll be the first to admit it. I LOVE teaching number bonds! Well, I didn't at first, but after seeing how much my firsties were learning about numbers, it didn't take long for me to 'buy in' to using number bonds.

It started back in 2012 when my district adopted Math in Focus. It was the first time in years, that our district had adopted a math program. I was excited to have a curriculum. It was the first time in my teaching career that I didn't have to make EVERYTHING! Instead of creating everything, I was able to spend time enhancing the curriculum with hands-on fun and games. Let me show you some of the ways that my team, Pinterest, and our PE teacher have brought number bonds to life for our kids!

First, Pinterest is great for finding new ideas and it was my first go to spot when we started our new curriculum. I found this great blogpost from Wild About Teaching: Math Monday is Baack: Animal Plate Math. I immediately bought plates and labeled them with part, part, and whole. I still use these plates for creating beginning number bonds, four years later.


Second, Pinterest also prompted me to create a hands-on number bond machine! I created 5 number bond machines (one for each table group) with the help of hubs! We bought the thick foam posterboard and then he cut it to fit into these baskets. I had extra baskets laying around, so made the machines to fit! Then I popped holes into the plastic cups and attached to the foam board with a brad. I added tape across the back of the brads to make it extra sturdy. I glued on a few labels and DONE! We use cubes, counting bears and a variety of other manipulatives to practice learning about part-part-whole.


Another really great activity our team came up with was when we asked our PE teacher about how to include number bonds and physical activity. Through the adoption of Math in Focus, we were able to add a 45-minute weekly math integrated PE into our schedule, called Math in Motion! It started off as just first grade and now we have a 30-minute block for kindergarten, too!

During Math in Motion (MIM), our PE teacher, Ms. Denton (she's fabulous, BTW!) has created different hands-on, whole body approaches to number bonds. This team-relay game was the focus of last week's MIM time. Partners stood on different colored dots and each one had a job to do. For example, Ms. Denton rolled a huge foam die. This was the first part. The red dot kiddo ran and got the number and that many cubes. Ms. Denton would then roll another die. The yellow dot kiddo, ran to get that number card and cubes. The blue dot kiddo, would then write out the problem in an addition sentence on the portable whiteboard. After each problem, students switched to a different dot so that they could practice completing different parts of the number bond. We are going to complete this activity again next week and try to bring in some of the commutative addition property as well!

Since we focus on building a strong number sense and being able to understand the concept of part-part-whole, I try and include number bonds throughout the year. Simply printing a few recording sheets back to back, either laminating or adding to a sheet protector, and getting out the dry erase markers, and you are set for guided practice, independent practice, or workstations for the rest of the year!



You can find these recording mats in my TpT store or by clicking HERE!