Teaching addition to first graders to improve their knowledge

What method of teaching addition to first graders and kids above 5 years will help them gain mastery of addition at this tender age? This is a question a parent asked me and I want to share with you a method I use that is effective in improving knowledge of addition and aid retention.

To better understand math, students should understand applicable rules, procedures, and patterns. Each math problem follows a particular rule, pattern, procedure or a combination of the three. Teaching addition to first graders in a way they will understand and quickly provide answers entails basic knowledge of:

  • What each digit is made of.
  • How to arrive at the place value called TENS and,
  • What numerals are among the TENS family.

In teaching addition to first graders and kids above 5 when it pertains to the addition of two digits say, 9 + 4, there are rules I teach them to follow.

The method I will be sharing in this post is called the SPLIT UP Method. This method is what I use in teaching addition to first graders to aid them to minimize the use of their fingers and improve their thinking abilities. It also increases their speed in solving two-digit addition problems.

Teaching addition to first graders – The SPLIT UP method

In this post, I will be using the split up method to help the child quickly solve the addition of 7 + 5.
First, let me state the rules.

The RULE

In helping the child understand the split up method and quickly solve addition problems, they have to follow these rules:

1. Split up one digit into two parts.
2. After split up, two parts should make up a TEN.
3. Finally, add the TEN to the remaining part.

The Split up method in practice

Let’s understand the split up method following the rules above with this example: 7 + 5.

RULE1

Since we have two digits, 7 and 5, the first rule says, split up one digit into two parts. I like leaving the digit closer to ten and splitting the other digit; in this case, I will split the numeral 5.
A split of 5 into two digits leaves us with three numerals to add instead of the initial two which was 7 and 5.

RULE2

Teaching addition to first graders, following rule two means two parts should make a TEN. In this case the addition will become: 7 + 3 + 2. The 5 has been split up into 3 + 2 following rule 1. Following rule 2 we should be left with 10 + 2.

Two parts should make a TEN in this case 7 + 3

RULE3

Finally, rule three says, add the TEN to the remaining part which is 2

So, 10 + 2 = 12

Therefore, teaching addition to first graders using the split up method.

7 + 5
7 + 3 + 2
10 + 2
12

Teaching addition to first graders using the split up method is a fun way to begin learning addition and it is a quick and better way to adding digits.

Variation to the Split up method

When they have to add 17 + 5, the split up method still holds but rule two and three now changes to:

RULE2 = Two parts should make up a TWENTY
RULE3 = Finally, add the TWENTY to the remaining part.

When you have to add 26 + 9, the split up method still holds but rule two and three now changes to:

RULE2 = Two parts should make up a THIRTY
RULE3 = Finally, add the THIRTY to the remaining part.

This is the way I started teaching addition to first graders and I have had good results with their rate of perception and retention. The need to understand and follow the rules aids their addition abilities.

Do the Following using split up method:

  • 9 + 8 = 9 + 1 + 7 = 10 + 7 = 17
  • 8 + 7 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 9 + 9 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 7 + 7 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 3 + 9 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 4 + 8 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 9 + 7 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____
  • 5 + 6 = ___ + ___ + ___ = ____ + ____ = _____

Let me know how it goes with your class.

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