Make a 10 Addition Strategy

The Make a 10 Addition Strategy can be a challenging concept for first graders. Every year I had a divide between students who understood it in a snap, and students who looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. I finally hit upon a concrete way to teach making a ten to add after a few frustrating years.

First, your students will need to master fact fluency within 10 (especially the facts that make 10) in order to use this strategy successfully. Here are some free resources to help your students build fact fluency. They will also need to learn to add 10 to single-digit numbers.

How I Teach the Make a 10 to Add Strategy

My students responded well to this simple approach to the Make a Ten strategy (watch the video below to see it in action):

Make 10 Addition Strategy Using Dots
  1. Read the equation.
  2. Write the larger number.
  3. Draw dots to match the smaller number.
  4. Circle the number and dots to make 10.
  5. Write a new equation using 10 and the leftover dots.
  6. Solve the new equation.
  7. Solve the original equation.
How to Teach the Make a 10 Addition Strategy

Free Make a Ten Strategy Activities

Students can easily use whiteboards or math notebooks to practice this strategy. I also have a few free resources that will help you! Click here for 2 free Make a 10 worksheets:

Free Make a 10 Addition Worksheets

Here are 6 free puzzles that are perfect for your visual learners:

More Resources

If you’re looking for more resources to help you introduce the Make 10 to Add strategy, check out this bundle:

Make a Ten Strategy Bundle

The following materials are included in this bundle:

1) PowerPoint lesson for the “make a ten to add” strategy. Students learn to write the larger number in the equation, draw dots for the smaller number, and compose a ten. Then they write new equations using the ten and the leftover dots. The lesson introduces the strategy, provides guided practice, and includes 5 problems for independent practice.

2) 24 “make a ten” puzzle cards. There are 12 puzzles with 2 pieces, and 12 puzzles with 4 pieces. This allows you to scaffold and differentiate your instruction.

3) Record sheets. There are 3 handouts- 1 for use during the lesson, and 2 for use with the puzzles.

4) 22 printable worksheets that will have your students finding ways to make ten and making 10 to add using number bonds, 10-frames, dots, and more!

These materials can be purchased separately here:

1) Make a Ten Addition Strategy Lesson and Math Center

2) Make a Ten Addition Strategy Worksheets

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Published by Little Owl's Teacher Treats

Erika @ Little Owl’s Teacher Treats believes in creating warm, engaging classroom environments that are inclusive of all students. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Penn State University in 2008, and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education, K-6 from Western Governors University in 2016. She also studied Reading Education at the graduate level at the University of Pittsburgh. Erika taught 5th grade for a year, but she found her true calling teaching first grade for eight years.

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