n the previous section,students learned to model addition with the blocksand Place mats.Through your questions and their recordings,they beganto reflect on this process.Now they start to predict what will happen whenthey combine the blocks.Students need many opportunities to combine collections of blocks.In fact,they should do so until they can consistently predict the result of any com-bination before they physically perform the task.This focus on predictionwill lead to successful work without the blocks.When the representationsand expectations are internalized,the actual blocks become unnecessary.
Predicting the Total
As a demonstration, present the example 215+362. Have volunteers repre-sent the numbers on the Counter and table and record the example on the whiteboard. Then say,
Set the dials to tell how many there will be when these two groups are combined.
Once the dials are set, students cover them and then combine the blocks.(Covering the dials keeps the numbers from distracting the students.) After combining the two groups on the Counter, the students uncover the dials tocheck their predictions.Repeat with an example that requires regrouping, such as 434+128. For thisexample, a student might first set the dial for the blocks-of-10 at 5, thenchange that dial to 6 after looking more closely at the single blocks.Note that when predictions are checked and found to be incorrect, the stu-dents can simply reset the dials to show the actual number of blocks on theCounter. Encourage students to realize that we all find predictions difficultto make, but that we get better with practice. If you notice consistent errors,however, you might encourage the students to reflect on discrepancies by saying, for example,
I see that your dial for the blocks-of-10 is 1 less than the number of blocks. Why do youthink that happened?
Students follow a similar procedure when working with the Place mats.Present an example such as 235+123. Tell the students to stop once they have represented the numbers and recorded the example on paper. Then say,
Set the Digit Flip Cards to tell how many there will be when you combine these two groups.
Predicting the outcome of joining groups of blocks,and finding sums without the blocks