Finding difference in Numbers to 5

A teacher reached out for support with teaching fluency within 5. After teaching a few lessons from a textbook curriculum, assessment revealed that some students had no retention of number combinations within 5. 

You can assess your students too. When your class is busy at work ask students to visit your desk one at a time. Have some counters out. Ask them a few verbal questions and note your observations: 

Something like:

  • tell me the numbers that go with these to make 5: (3, 4, 2 - choose at random), or
  • how many more to make 5 (4, 2, 1)
  • what goes with (4, 3, 2 etc) to make 5
Note if your students 
  • understand the question
  • count on fingers
  • start counting at one
  • take a while to think about it
  • tap their foot or the desk
  • reach for the counters on your desk
  • know the answers instantly 
It your students lack confidence, strategies or have not developed fluency you will need to do more daily activities with numbers 1-5. Integrate math warm-ups and brain-breaks into your day to make time for this essential practice. 

Dice Grid Games

As well as playing to the original instructions, make a matching puzzle-style game to help support students' visual memory of numbers in dot pattern arrangements. This visual memory will give them confidence to work mentally with numbers.
Today I added a page of the dot tiles to make it easier for you to create the square pieces.

If you don't have the panda game mat - it's still freely available back on this blog post.

Here is another idea for using the panda game mats:

Panda Roll

  • students will find the difference in numbers to 5
  • use the blank game mat
  • print and make this special dice (with includes visual support)
  • ask students to look at the dark dots when they roll and find the difference to 5 (the white dots)
  • e.g the difference between 2 and 5 as shown on the dice below is 3
  • the student takes 3 dice and places them on their panda mat
  • option: have them say 2 and 3 make 5

  • on the example below, the students rolls a 4 (difference of 1) and takes 1 counter
  • students keep rolling and adding numbers to their mat until one student fills their mat

I hope this game gives you some additional use for the activity mats you may already have printed ready to play! 

Find the special dice in Google Drive: Panda Dice

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