Ten More and Ten Less: Hands on Activities for First Grade

centers, math

Ten More and Ten Less

Teaching ten more and ten less is a lot of fun in first grade!  There are so many fun, hands-on activities you can do with your students to work on this place value skill.
There are a variety of skills students need to be successful with this standard:
  • Can students orally count on from a given number?
  • Do students have good number sense?  Can they easily compare and order numbers?
  • Do they understand our base-ten number system?
If not, you may need to do some pre-teaching before they are ready to mentally find 10 more and 10 less than a given number. These activities can help you build these skills.

Hands-On Activities

Use cubes to count on. Start with a given number and touch or push cubes as students count on ten more. Once students can count on ten, then work on counting back ten. You could use a simple ten frame to do this activity- or you can make it more enticing with these fun snail mail mats!
We know that students love variety, and many students learn in different ways! Cubes and fingers are another way to practice in a hands-on concrete way.
Once students can orally count on and back ten, then work on writing the numerals. This is a great way to continue building number sense. Number lines are a great way to practice. You can use a simple number line or spice it up with math mats to make it feel like a game!
After students have mastered the skill of orally counting on ten less and ten more and can write the numerals then they are ready to dive deeper into place value understandings.  
Here are some of my favorite activities:

Use Place Value Blocks

Students build a two-digit number with place value blocks. They add another “ten” to make ten more. Then they take away a “ten” to show ten less. You can use a simple two-column place value mat, or these pails are super fun!

Use a 100 or 120 Chart

I love that “aha moment” when first graders realize they can use a 100 or 120 chart and go up and down a row to find ten more and ten less! Be sure to talk with your students about why this works and how it relates to our number system. This mat is perfect for using a math link to “circle” the numbers.

Mentally Finding 10 More and Ten Less

Now that you have spent a good amount of time building students’ place value understanding, most students will be ready to mentally find ten more and ten less. This is the math standard students are expected to master in first grade.

I love that this mat connects the idea of addition and subtraction to the skill. Children place a number card in the middle and then they write the ten less and ten more numbers. Students shouldn’t need to “count” our goal now is automaticity. You can download a free black and white version of this mat and number cards here.

Task cards are a great way to fluency! This set comes with three sets of cards and recording sheets for three different activities to practice ten more and ten less: Scoot, Write the Room, and a Math Station. Your students will love these games!

Your students will love using these hero number mats at a center. The starting number is written in the middle and students write the ten less and ten more numbers. This is also a great small group activity.
Kids always love to play Bingo! This is another great way to work on fluency for the skill of 10 more and 10 less. It is perfect for use in small groups, or at centers.  
This set is available in the First Grade Math Hub or on TPT.
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Hi, I’m Jaymie! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I taught for 17 years including 12 years in First Grade, 4 years as a Reading Interventionist, and 1 year in Pre-K. 

I have a passion for creating rigorous, easy to use primary resources that require little or no prep! I hope you find some easy ideas to take back to your classroom or use in your homeschool!

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