What is a Ten Frame?
People. Let me introduce you to one of the best tools for teaching number sense: a ten frame. You need this information.
Ten frames are the latest in math buzzwords in early elementary learning and guess what? We can use them with preschoolers. It’s an amazingly effective and simple way to learn about numbers.
RELATED: Wondering how I teach my children? Check out Playing Preschool – my at-home learning program.
But wait…what is a ten frame?!
A ten frame is a rectangle, separated into two rows with 10 equal spaces, hence the name “ten frame”.
Ten frames are magical little tools to help kids learn about number sense – and I mean REALLY learn about numbers. Not the surface level “my kid can memorize count to 20” but actual, real, deep, and meaningful learning about numbers.
Ten frames are used for counting. They make counting values simpler.
We can use them for composing and decomposing numbers in relation to 5 and 10.
They help form the basis for understanding place value in the future (example: numbers like 12 are a ten and two ones).
RELATED: Looking for more information on developing number sense in preschool? Check this out!
Ten frames can change everything for preschoolers.
Introducing this concept in early childhood set our kids up for big time success.
- They aren’t surprised by ten frames in Kindergarten, lost, and wondering how to make this work.
- They develop a deeper understanding of numbers – and build that conceptual learning.
- They learn skills to rapidly recall groups of objects, like they do with pips on a dice.
This activity isn’t just for fun or just because, and ten frames aren’t just some wild idea to make parents crazy while trying to help with math homework.
Ten frames really help.
They provide a visual. They provide concrete understanding. They give children the chance to work WITH the numbers not just memorizing them.
RELATED: Looking for build more conceptual understanding of numbers and addition? Try this!
Here’s one way I use them in my house:
I make a GIANT ten frame on my carpet using tape.
I find a bunch of toys – my daughter picked her beloved Paw Patrollers.
I also grab a deck of playing cards, with all the face cards removed.
My daughter flips a card over, and puts *that many* pups into the ten frame…one pup per square.
Then we talk about the number…
“Wow, I see you put out 6 pups. Is that more or less than 5? You’re right – it’s 5 and 1 more. How many squares are still open? OH! So 6 and 4 make 10!”
Do you see all the learning that just happened?
No drill and kill.
Just whole body learning with math.
This is a learning activity.
I call these “Learning Activities” which is different from regular activities because I’m not leaving this for her to do independently. Instead, I’m sitting with her and we are talking about it all.
We do this about 10 times and call it quits.
No need to beat this into the ground. We can work again another day.
But I’ve definitely met my goal.
Each time I pull this out for my daughter (4) – large scale on the carpet or making a small one on construction paper – I know I’m doing so right by her.
When she goes off to Kindergarten, think of all the background knowledge that will be unlocked.
Don’t be afraid of new math…
Not all of it is bad!
Ten frames are an awesome way to help kids “see” what they are learning, and I’m so excited that my kids have this little extra bit of knowledge as they head into their school years.
Will you make a ten frame to learn with?