This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about making ten. It is designed to complement the Making Ten topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

As your children develop their addition and subtraction skills, empower them with different strategies that will help them become faster and more efficient at manipulating numbers. Knowing how to make ten is a fundamental building block for more complex mental math in our base-ten system. For example, if students know that 3 + 7 = 10, later on they will have an easier time understanding that 30 + 70 = 100, or 43 + 7 = 50, and eventually 300 + 700 = 1000 and beyond. We recommend reviewing the Counting On and exploringBasic Addition topics with your children. This movie will explore different ways to make ten and review fact families. It will also show how combinations of ten can be used to identify related facts and solve algebraic equations.

It is important to provide counters, connecting cubes, ten-frames, or other supports to help children explore combinations of ten on their own. Ask students to share the combinations they find and write all the number sentences together. Encourage them to find a pattern. As one addend goes down, the other goes up!

Review different ways to make ten with your children:

0 + 10 = 10

1 + 9 = 10

2 + 8 = 10

3 + 7 = 10

4 + 6 = 10

5 + 5 = 10

6 + 4 = 10

7 + 3 = 10

8 + 2 = 10

9 + 1 = 10

10 + 0 = 10

Your children should learn to commit the combinations of ten to memory. This might seem like a daunting task to some early learners, but point out that they really only have to learn six different facts. Once they know 3 + 7 = 10, they will know that 7 + 3 = 10. Furthermore, they have probably memorized a few facts already, such as 5 + 5 = 10 and 9 + 1 = 10. Encourage them to find fun ways to memorize the facts. They can create flash cards and play “memory”, draw pictures, or even make up silly songs and poems.

Many early learners will count on their fingers or use counters when they begin learning addition. Memorizing ways to make ten helps children become faster and more efficient at manipulating numbers. Explain to your children that when they commit combinations of ten to memory, they can solve trickier number sentences: 3 + ___ = 10. If they have memorized that 3 + 7 = 10, they can quickly figure out that the missing addend is 7. After your children become more familiar with ways to make ten, try solving different algebra equations together.

Remind your children that a fact family is a set of facts that use the same numbers. For example, 9 + 1 = 10 and 1 + 9 = 10 are in the same fact family. Related facts are number sentences that use the same set of numbers with inverse operations: 10 – 1 = 9 and 10 – 9 = 1. The equations use the same numbers, but with different operations; they are part of the same fact family as well. We recommend using manipulatives or number triangles to help children understand fact families and related facts.

Working with combinations of ten helps children develop number sense and make connections. Empower your children with strategies they can use when they encounter more complex problems in math.