Today I’m going to share a very quick number sense activity. This activity is quick and seems simple, but it is a great formative assessment and it can tell you a lot about a child’s number sense. This activity is called “Ways to Make…”
For this activity, students are coming up with as many ways as they can think of to make a certain number. I always do an example with them before we start so they understand the directions. When I do an example, I make sure to pick a smaller, easier number, and also make sure that when they do it independently, they’re working with a different number.
For example, here’s a class one we did together on the white board – Ways to Make 10. Students can come up with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division sentences that equal ten. They can use multiple addends and operations. For example 20-15+5 = 10. They can represent ten in other ways – two nickels, one dime, ten tallies, etc.
Here’s a second class example using the number 20.
Here’s an example of a soon-to- be 4th grader from my summer math workshop class. He was showing Ways to Make 50. As you can see, he used a variety of operations and multiple operations in one given number sentence.
I often use this activity at the beginning of the school year to get an idea of where each student is at with their ability to use numbers flexibly. This can be used as a formative assessment, partner activity, whole group activity, and in a math station. To differentiate, I often will give kids choices. For example, they could pick the number 20, 40, 80, 100, or 200. This allows kids to have choice and also pick a number that works for them.
Just a quick share today. Hope this can be helpful and you’ll be able to use this in your own classroom!