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  • Writer's pictureLara

Decomposing Numbers to 10 Building Thinking Classrooms Tasks!

Decomposing numbers to ten has always been a tricky topic to teach, but I have found it to be a great topic for Building Thinking Classrooms style tasks!


Problems Can Be About Any Topic

That is true for most problems but decomposing numbers lends itself well to any topic your students are into at the moment! 


Are you students into Legos? There are 10 black and red Legos in the bin, how many are red, and how many are black?


Squishmallows? There are 8 Squishmallows on the shelf? How many could be pink and how many could be purple?


The choices are endless!




There Is Built In Thin Slicing

The great thing about decomposing numbers is that there is more than one answer! You can challenge your students to find all of the combinations of the target number.


Check Your Understandings Integrate Well!

I find that once your students develop a strategy while working at the boards, they can feel confident about engaging in a mild, medium, or spicy task. It leads to a rich discussion about how your students go about figuring out this type of problem.


Decomposing Numbers Is An Important Skill


While my examples are to 10, you can easily take this to 20 and beyond but don’t disregard numbers to ten!


As students begin to work with double-digit numbers knowing number pairs to 10 can help students develop sophisticated mental math strategies and flexibility with numbers.



Some Examples!

You by no means need anything fancy for Building Thinking Classrooms tasks but working with young kids if you add a few fun slides and a story it enhances the task and increases engagement!



You can get my Decomposing Numbers to 10 Building Thinking Classrooms Bundle here with these three done-for-you- tasks! Each has varying levels of text for your students, thin-slicing suggestions, and mild, medium, and spicy (CYU) check-your-understanding questions. 


While they all cover a range of numbers to ten in the CYU, they each start with one target number, five, seven, or ten.


Decomposing 5 - How Many Crayons?

In this decomposing numbers to 5 task, you have 5 crayons hidden in your desk drawer or teacher area, some could be red and some could be yellow. Your students will be tasked with trying to guess the combination of crayons you have in your drawer. Bonus if you actually hide 5 crayons in your desk, they get so excited if they guess your combination correctly!


Decomposing 7 - So Many Desserts!

In this decomposing numbers to 7 task, you had a party and each of your guests get to choose 7 desserts to take home. You have cookies and donuts to choose from! As the CYU, your students can decide how their trays would look with 5,8, or 10 desserts on their trays.


When I did this with my class I named teachers they knew for taking home 5,8, or 10 donuts and they loved that! It makes it more real for them if they can connect to the “characters” in the story!


Decomposing 10 - How Many Goals?


Any soccer fans? I worked with a high Hispanic population who loved to both play and watch soccer, so of course a soccer task was a must! 


In this decomposing 10 task, two teams played a game of soccer, and ten goals were scored altogether. How many goals could have been scored by each team the Green Frogs and Red Foxes?  


You can get the bundle of these tasks here! And if you are looking for soccer-themed math centers you can get these hands-on centers or these print-and-go activities!


New to Building Thinking Classrooms? You can read this Start Here blog or this post about my first months doing Building Thinking Classrooms with Kindergarten!

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