Building Tens Family With Duplos

In first grade math, Rebekah had to add a column
of three numbers for the first time.
One of the tricks they taught
was to find  combinations of ten first.
We call these facts
The Tens Family.
Every member of this family has to = 10.



 First, I had Rebekah make stacks of Duplos,
from 1 to 10,  in two colors.
 While she was busy placing the stacks
neatly on my Quilting Mate,
I made a simple worksheet using Word.
Next, I had her fill in the worksheet,
combining the stacks of Duplos,
to find the answers.
From Left to Right
10 + 0 = 10
1 + 9 = 10
2 + 8 = 10
up to
10 + 0 = 10
I love how the Duplos clearly show the members
of the Tens Family,
and the beautiful patterning of numbers. 
They are bright, easy to use,
and make Math class feel like play time.
You could also use Legos,
if you don’t have crawlers around,
who would feast on your manipulatives.
Next, I had her match up problems with the same addends.
(The numbers you add together are the addends.
The answer is the sum.)
This is the Commutative Property for Addition.
Remember that from Algebra?
a + b = b + a
1 + 9 = 9 + 1
2 + 8 = 8 + 2
For each math fact they memorize,
because of the Commutative Property,
they usually are learning two problems.
The exception?
You’re right.
The doubles.
In this case, 5 + 5.
I use the term Commutative in first grade. 
Kids love big words.
If they can’t remember the word, fine.
But, they can still understand the concept.
I tell my kids the smarter they are,
the less math they have to learn.
By using the Commutative property,
they only have to learn 6 problems
in the Tens Family, instead of 11.
Again, the Duplos clearly show the beautiful patterning
of the Commutative Property.
Scroll back up and admire the picture.
This is one of the reasons I love math!
You so easily see we have a God of order.
 We finished off the math lesson by easily tackling the math worksheet.
You can see where she swooped the numbers together,
to first make ten,
then add the third number.
(The other swoops were for doubles.)
I was so excited about this lesson,
especially since it is the end of the year,
and I am really, really, ready to quit.
 Beka later said,
“Math took a little longer than normal, Mom,
because you really got carried away.”
To soften the blow, she added,
“But that’s OK, Mom, because I like Math,
especially when you get to play with Duplos.”

7 thoughts on “Building Tens Family With Duplos

  1. Ruby

    It's great for the kids to have visuals to put the concepts clearly in their minds. Though my boys learning problems are mainly language ones, they are behind in everything else because of that. I sometimes still get out blocks to demonstrate things and they catch on much better.LeARniNg can be so much fUN!!

  2. Laurel

    Hi Mindy–Lori Miller Cline, with whom I went to college, sent me to your site because she knew I would enjoy it. Nice to meet you!

  3. Ken McNeff==Lori Knick Miller Cline's friend from college; on her facebook.

    THank you from the husband of a home-schooled girl who never quite got math; this might just be the picture she needs to understand algebra! I R a Colij gradjit myself and always admired those leaders of our country who were home-schooled (Andrew Johnson, by his wife) or self-taught (Abraham Lincoln, for the bar exam, among others). I was fortunate to have older siblings who taught me at home and let me read their textbooks when mine got boring, and teachers who gave me individual attention and even lessons and subjects to keep me continually involved and potentially learning; keep up the good work with your family!!!!

  4. The Queen of Brussels Sprouts

    I love making math stick. The 10s concept is fantastic. When my 3rd grader caught onto that reality, math suddenly got a lot easier!We just made a 10s family "craft" with my almost 5 year old twins. They are far from grasping it, but ya gotta start somewhere!


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