# Games or activities to really emphasize base 10?

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My younger daughter seems to be struggling getting the whole idea of base 10 to really 'click'.

She can do basic addition and subtraction of like 6+4 = 10, but the whole idea of:

6+4=10

so

16+4=20

26+4=30

etc.

Seems to confuse her. She will see a set of problems like 6+4= 16+4 = and 26+4= and she will quickly right in 6+4=10 but then start counting on her fingers for the other ones.

We spent time going over it with base 10 squares and she seemed to get it, but today it came up in a book review and we were right back at square 1, so I am looking to see if anyone has any brainstorms or ideas that can help her really *get* this.

She also has the propensity to claim everything is *too hard* if it is not easy. Ie a resistance to struggling a little to get something, so I have been hearing all morning that her math is *too hard*, even though she did this exact same format of problem a few weeks ago and had demonstrated much more confidence with them. Any advice you have with that would also be helpful....

TIA.

Edited by JessBurs

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Does she understand that that for 16 + 4 that 16 is really 10 + 6? or rather 1 group of 10 plus 6  and that adding 6+4 gives you another group of 10? I'm wondering if she truly understands how place value works.

I got a cheap set of poker chips off Amazon and marked them with a sharpie. 1's white, 10's red, 100's blue. I used small whiteboard and divided up the board into 3 sections. I had my kiddo work addition and subtraction problems by phyiscally moving the chips. So you would tell her that the basic rule in place value is that you can only have 0-9 before you have to exchange out 10 chips for the next bigger chip and move that to the next column.

So for 16 +4. she would have 1 red and 6 whites in the 10's and 1's column. Then when she tries to put 4 more whites in she sees that 10 of them is too many and see has to exchange the 10 whites for 1 red. If she is working 16 +7. I usually have the ones arranged in groups of 5 (vertically or horizontally up to you) because 5 is easy to see and kids seem to easily recognize you need two sets of 5 to make 10. Then she would see  XXXXX X and have 7 chips in her hand. She would use up 4 of those chips and know she needs to change out that for a 10 chip and move it to the left. She might not be seeing that that the new chip means that she now has a new group of 10 that is added to the original group of 10. The two red chips would show her visually that there are two groups and the 10 written on the face tells her the value of that group.

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Some Montessori teens and tens boards perhaps?

It's great because it cements in the idea that 10 is the starting point for the teen numbers, and the units digit slides over the zero. It's a clear way to show that 15 is actually 10 and then 5, for example. Using the beads as well is very helpful.

Edited by chocolate-chip chooky

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Ditto above.  I made staggered place value cards.  I cut index cards into 1/3s, 2/3s, and kept some whole.  The 1/3 cards got single digits written.  The 2/3 cards got 10, 20...all the way up to 90 plus 00, and the whole cards got the hundreds.  Place value started first with the single digit cards and placing the blocks next to them (c-rods work better, but base ten singles work, too).  Then we built the other ones by first putting down the 10 card and 10 rod, and laying a single digit card over the 0, and adding those next to the 10 rod.  When you had equal amounts, that was two 10s.  You have to show 2 tens on the card.

I also have a track that kids can use to line everything up.  I think I bought it from Rainbow Resource.  You can make 10 frames to help with the visualization in a slightly different way (grouping in pairs of 5).

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Is she using count up or count on?

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A simple abacus might help.

I made a quickie abacus from a shoebox and some pony beads- you can see a pic on this thread:

The beads might be fun for her, especially if she gets to pick the colors. And it would make the relationship clearer because when you move a tens bead to change the tens place (adding 10, 20, etc) the ones beads all stay where they’re at.

there are plenty of videos on YouTube, too. You want ones dealing with the 100 bead school abacus, not Japanese.

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Cuisenaire rods would help. Look at educationunboxed.com for ideas too.

I think using the manipulatives over and over and over is what cements this understanding.

RightStart has some great manipulatives too. Worth looking at what might help. And their game book is great!

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I found it useful to have my daughter draw pictures for the numbers, splitting them up into 10s and 1s. So for 25 + 6, say, she'd draw two boxes of 10 dots and 5 more dots. Then she'd draw 6 more dots. Then she'd group them into 10s and 1s.

I'd also want to know if she's aware that 26 means 2 tens and 6 ones and whatnot.

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I vote Cuisenaire rods or an abacus.

There's a Right Start game called Going to the Dump that you can play as well. You can adapt a regular deck of cards to play it:

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My youngest really liked Once Upon A Time on Decimal Street. We don't use MUS but we do have some of the blocks and the video really stuck with him.

Math Playground had some really cute games he liked to play when he was first learning. The Jumping Chicks and the Penguin Game were two of his favorite.

ABCya had place value games as well if I remember correctly.

His favorite math game right now is Prodigy. It has been giving him a lot of place value practice lately.

Honestly, I introduced the concept of place value to him last summer when he was 5.5yo, he turned 6 in January and is just now getting really good at it. It is a tough concept for a lot of kids and many of them just need lots of time and practice for it to sink in.

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1 minute ago, sweet2ndchance said:

Honestly, I introduced the concept of place value to him last summer when he was 5.5yo, he turned 6 in January and is just now getting really good at it. It is a tough concept for a lot of kids and many of them just need lots of time and practice for it to sink in.

Yeah, I think patience while kids grapple with ideas is about the best thing :-). It's always surprising how long it takes kids to get a handle on stuff we think is intuitive!

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7 hours ago, square_25 said:

Yeah, I think patience while kids grapple with ideas is about the best thing :-). It's always surprising how long it takes kids to get a handle on stuff we think is intuitive!

I don't necessarily find place value to be intuitive. It is a big idea for most little kids. Since they were infants or toddlers we have counted with them as we pointed to objects but now we change the paradigm and say that 4 doesn't only mean 4 of something, it can also mean 40 or 400 or 4000 or more depending on its position. It is a pretty abstract concept for little kids to grapple with initially. Not all kids will grasp this concept at the same time just as not all kids learn to read at the same time.

Most people understand that learning to read is highly individual for each child, some will learn at 3 or 4 and some won't learn until they are 8 or 9 but you can't force them to learn before they are ready to learn. What many people miss is that it isn't just reading that is highly individual, it is all learning. No two children learn exactly alike and learning is not a linear thing that always proceeds at a predictable rate.

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19 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

I don't necessarily find place value to be intuitive. It is a big idea for most little kids. Since they were infants or toddlers we have counted with them as we pointed to objects but now we change the paradigm and say that 4 doesn't only mean 4 of something, it can also mean 40 or 400 or 4000 or more depending on its position. It is a pretty abstract concept for little kids to grapple with initially. Not all kids will grasp this concept at the same time just as not all kids learn to read at the same time.

Most people understand that learning to read is highly individual for each child, some will learn at 3 or 4 and some won't learn until they are 8 or 9 but you can't force them to learn before they are ready to learn. What many people miss is that it isn't just reading that is highly individual, it is all learning. No two children learn exactly alike and learning is not a linear thing that always proceeds at a predictable rate.

Oh yes, I totally agree with you :-). It's a tricky concept! And yeah, different kids are ready for different things at such different times. We expect it for babies: like, my older girl walked almost 6 months earlier than my younger girl, and both were well within range of what is normal. But you're right, we don't always account for how different kids will be when they are school aged.

Following....

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The Math U See method for teaching this was excellent.   I wasn't thrilled about the rest of their program but that I loved.   If you could find someone who has the blocks and borrow them, and also theres a poster sized sheet that has the three "buildings" you put the pieces in that would be good to borrow with it, it could really help.   There's a video here:

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Also, make sure your child is not confused by the weird naming of the teens (Ie, in Fourty TWO...the "four" coresponds to the 4 which goes in the 10s place, and the 2 is in the ones place, but in fourteen, the four comes first, and the "teen" for ten comes after, which is really confusing.