Teaching the Value of Tens

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I am math-brained; but not in the geeky mathematician, I-can-solve-complicated-math-problems-in-my-head type way. Nope, I’m not THAT smart. I will tell you that teaching math concepts come easy to me. I’m not sure what it is; but smack dead in the middle of teaching (or planning) an idea will fill my head and behold it will work! (And I am all about things working!)

I have a 5 year old. He’s in 1st grade math. He’s learning to count to 300 beginning with 100; but weeks ago before learning to count from 100 to 200 I had to teach him the value of each ten. I do not like for him totally master counting before realizing the value of the numbers. Having one without the other slows down his learning.

Teaching the Value of Tens - By Joyice

For every set of numbers he learns to count, I go back and teach them the value of those numbers. I keep this up until we’ve reached 1,000. Typically, by then, they are able to transfer the knowledge to any like number. In my approach to math, I teach kids how to count to 1,000 groups, adding to it weekly until we’ve reached 1,000.

At this point my son could count to 100 by 1’s and 10’s and I was ready to show him how to start at 100 and count up to 200. But before I taught the next set of 100 he needed to understand and explain the value of each ten.

How to teach your children value of tens

(This lesson works best if you child can read number words.) 

Here we go:

Count by 10s to your child. Be sure to over-emphasize the “TY.”

Twent-TY, Thir-TY, For-Ty and so on.

Ask him/her to count by 10s now and tell them you want to hear their “TY.”

(Some kids may have gotten lazy in their tongue and have begun to pronounced this as “DY” instead of “TY” and this is a good time to correct this.)

Just because your child can count does not mean he/she understand the value of each number. Counting over 100 and place value can be a nightmare without this understanding. It’s the equivalent of knowing how to read but not able to comprehend, and if we read to comprehend and that’s not happening then can we really read?

Your child has to be able to understand the number “20” as 2 tens; and the same for rest of the tens.

I like to use my tens bar and ones cubes for this lesson; but any counter will work. I have also used beans and it has worked just fine.

Say, I know you already know how much ten is, but just to be sure let mommy hear you count. As they are counting use your counters to add each one until the child gets to ten.

Ask, if we leave off at 10 and I want to count to 20, what do I need to do? (You’re not looking for an answer. The question is asked to pair thinking with solution.) Just tell them what you would do.

I ‘d add another counter and begin at 11 and stop at 20. (Count it out with the child.)

Ask, how many beans or cubes (or whatever your counter is) do you have? (They will say 20.)

Ask, how many tens do you have? (Again, not looking for an answer but just pause and see way they say.)

Teach, I have 2 tens. Twenty is 2 tens. Each time you count by tens you are telling me how many tens the number has.

Let’s look at 30. When we count by tens that last number is always a zero. So we will focus on the other number.

What number do you see in 30. Remember, not the 0. All of the tens have that number.(Have number cards or have written it down for the child to see.)

The child will tell you 3. Yes. That number tells us how many tens in the number 30. How many tens are in 30? 3!

Let’s do it again. Choose another ten and walk the child through it again. I would do it for each number but not in the same sitting; but preferably in the same day.

Finally, tell the child that “TY” (say the sound not the letters) means 10. So, when we say “twenTY” we are literally saying 2 tens. Write the word “sixty” for your child to read. Cover the “TY” and ask him/her to read the word. Cover the “six” and ask him/her to read the “TY.”

Ask, what does “TY” mean again? (It means 10.)

Uncover the “TY” and ask the child to read the entire word. (Sixty.)

Ask them what does it mean? (The should say 6 tens.)

Walk the child through the same thing with more sets of tens to make sure it’s seeping in.

Help them to be able to see the value of the numbers numerically and written. It may not seem like much now but it will surely add to their learning the higher up in elementary they go. I taught my 8 year old this way three years ago and boy has is proved effective and fruitful!!

Wishing you many blessings as you teach math this year!

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