Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teaching Number Bonds

Number bonds.
An extract from the SJBWriting blog:
"We all use them in our adult life without even realising it. When adding up items in our basket at the supermarket, we know that 3p and 7p is 10p, and that 2x 50p is £1.

When we buy something for £5.60 at the market and hand over a £10 note, we know that £5.60 + 40p is £6 and another £4 makes £10, so we know to expect £4.60 change.

Knowing our number bonds is extremely useful, but a lot of children struggle to learn them.

Over the years I have successfully taught many children how to remember their number bonds. As with times tables, the key is to find multi-sensory ways to teach, and to make practising fun.

Some children respond very well to visual clues, and to help these I use colour sticks.

These are strips marked out in 10 sections and coloured in contrasting colours, so that children can see clearly that 2 red squares plus 8 green squares equals 10 squares altogether, and that 8 green squares plus 2 red squares also equals 10 squares altogether.

They are small enough to hold in the hand, and I tend to use them in conjunction with other methods. The children I tutor find them really useful to refer to during games.

Snap and pelmanism are always popular games, and I have made two sets of cards for this. The first set is colour-coded, so when the children turn the cards over there is a visual clue as to whether the two cards add up to 10.

When they turn over the first card, I encourage them to work out what number they need to find to make 10.

When the children are a little more confident I switch to the black and white ones to remove the visual clue, but we still play the same games to keep some familiarity."

If you find this interesting and want to read more of this article, go to SJBWriting


  1. Thanks for reblogging this - I'm glad you think your readers might find it interesting and useful. You might also be interested in this recent post I wrote on using multisensory teaching for helping children learn to read:

  2. Thanks SJB! You do good work and we will certainly encourage more readers to check out your posts. Ken