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Combining Groups of Single Blocks

# Combining Groups of Single Blocks

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Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Vol 2 Lesson 3-2
Comprehensive Teacher's Guide Vol 2 Lesson 3-2

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07/09/2013

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# Combining Groups of Single Blocks

Focus

3-2

A

basic view of addition is one of “adding on” or “counting on” from an initial amount. This process is easily modeled with single blocks on the number lines. This approach works well for small numbers and helps to further children’s counting strategies and understanding of addition. In the beginning, keep sums to less than 50. More advanced students might use the number lines to 100; however, work with larger numbers is much easier when grouping by tens (packing the blocks) and can be reserved for the next section.

® Joining Blocks on the Number Lines
To demonstrate, ask one child to place 12 blocks on a number line. Have another child place 8 blocks on a second number line. Ask,

If you put all the blocks on the same number line, how many blocks would there be?
Have children place the blocks on one of the number lines and tell the number in all. The children repeat this activity in pairs, each placing a handful of blocks on a separate number line and then putting them all on one line to find the total number. Once familiar with the task, children should record their actions. Pairs of children can then tell their classmates what they did and share their recordings. Children will often use the words join A child easily finds the total of two groups of blocks by combining and add as they describe their work, and them on a single number line. some may use the plus (+) and equals (=) signs in their recordings. This provides a good opportunity to review the meanings of such words and symbols. If no one uses them, you can introduce them by building on the children’s drawings and words. As children become familiar with use of the number lines, they can use the same technique to solve story problems. Then when the children understand the traditional symbols, they can practice using the number lines to find sums for examples such as 23 + 19.
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® Looking More Closely at the Process
Present a card with the number 15 written on it and ask one child to show that number of blocks on a number line. Give a second child a card with the number 13, and have the child place that many blocks on another line. The second child then adds those blocks onto the first line and tells the number in all. To reinforce the connection between joining and separating, ask the second child,

If you took your blocks back to your line, how many blocks would be left here?
Have the child remove the blocks and check. Then ask the first child, If this time you take your blocks (pointing to the line of 15) and put them on this line (pointing to the line of 13), how many blocks will there be on the line? Again, have children place the blocks to check. Provide several more examples. Encourage children to predict the outcome before taking back or joining the blocks and eventually to generalize that changing the order does not change the sum (a + b = b + a).

® Predicting Totals
As children solve addition problems, encourage them to think about what the result will be when they combine the two groups of blocks on the number line. Initially, children may use their hands to approximate the length of the second quantity and then think about increasing the first amount by that length. Some children may note the number of longer hash marks (tens) in the second quantity, and count up from the first number by that amount. You might also provide a benchmark, asking questions such as,

Will there be more or less than 20 blocks when you put these two groups together?
Finally, ask children to predict exact outcomes before they combine the blocks. Children can place markers on the line to show their predicted answers. Begin with examples such as 14 + 3 and 17 + 10. You can then challenge children with examples such as 12 + 13, and finally with combinations that require regrouping, such as 25 + 8. Invite children to explain how they arrived at their predictions. Children then place the blocks to check. Through repeated opportunities to predict exact answers without actually placing or counting the blocks, children develop good number sense and intuitive mental computation skills. Such abilities take time to develop, but they are very valuable in real-world situations. Encourage children to participate in the problem-solving process of predicting answers correctly, and ask them to explain their process for doing so.
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Practicing Key Ideas
Together in a Line
Write numbers less than 25 on index cards, one number per card. Children work in pairs. Each child turns over a card and shows that number on a separate number line. Children then combine the blocks on a single number line and record the corresponding number sentence.

Predict Exactly
Children play in teams of two players, each team having 25 blocks and a number line. Both teams place a number of blocks (less than 25) on their number line. Together, the two teams decide on whose line to combine the blocks. Each team places a marker on that line to show how many they think there will be when the blocks are combined. Together the children place the blocks to check.

Assessing Learning
1. Have the child place 17 blocks on one number line and 12 on another line. Say,

Show me how to combine these blocks and find the number in all.
Does the child • read the number from the line or recount the blocks? • identify the total correctly? • explain his or her thinking clearly? 2. With blocks and a number line available, show an example such as 14 + 18 and ask the child to find the answer. Does the child • model the example correctly? • use the number line? • find the correct answer? 3. Have the child place 32 blocks on one number line and 15 blocks on another line. Ask,

If you place these blocks on the same line, where do you think they will end? Why do you think so?
Have the child place the blocks to check. Does the child • predict correctly? • clearly explain his or her thinking?

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