Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Ways to Use 10 Frames

Last fall, I wrote about 10 different ways I was using 10 frames in the classroom.  I love using 10 frames in the classroom and keep things fresh by changing out which ones I am using as the season changes.  In Kindergarten and grade 1 I get so much mileage out of 10 frames and they really help build a solid foundation for early numeracy and additive reasoning.  I also love my 20 frame playing cards and wrote about how I use them in my classroom here!

Compare or Flip and Add

War was always my favorite card game as a young child and I often play versions of war (also called compare) with 10 frame cards as well as my other place value decks.  To play this game, mix up a few sets of playing cards and give each player an equal number of cards.  Then have them flip over 1 or more cards and compare the result.  I have very young students start with flipping over one card and saying the number represented by that card.  Then whoever has the largest (or smallest) number after every player has flipped over a card gets all the cards in that round.  As kids get older, you can have them flip 2 cards over and find the sum.  You can also have them flip over 3 cards if you are working on adding 3 one digit numbers.  Ready for subtraction?  Have them flip over 2 cards and find the difference.  I love how this one seemingly simple game can be played in so many ways!  Your entire class can look like it is playing the same game but different pairs or small groups can be playing different versions customized for their skill level.  You can further differentiate this game by mixing 10 frame cards with numeral cards or having some kids playing with 10 frames while others use numerals.  You also do not need to spend a lot of time going over the rules to a "new" game because kids already know how to play!

Close to 15 (Or another number of your choice!)

This game is a great way for students to practice multiple skills at the same time.  I have students create their own record sheet for this game which is a great way to use up scrap paper from the copy room.  Flip over two cards and find the sum.  The person who is closest to 15 (or some other number of your choosing) "wins" that round.  The winner can circle their answer.  This allows students to practice addition facts and at the same time practice comparing two numbers (subtraction).  The game can end when kids run out of cards or you can have them re-shuffle and keep playing!  You can also change this game up by having kids flip just one card and see who can get the closest to 5 (or another small number).  Ready for a challenge?  Have them flip over 3 cards and see who can get closest to 20 (or another number of your choice!). 

Compare with Gameboard

I used to teach the greater than and less than symbols toward the end of second grade.  As standards and expectations have shifted, I have moved to teaching these symbols and the language of greater and less than earlier.  A good way to do this has been with a compare board and playing cards.  Kids can start at a very basic level by comparing 2 ten frames.  As kids gain proficiency with number, I can mix in numeral cards or other representations.  Using a small piece of a colored index card and some brads, I can make a game board that will make the <, > and = symbols.  The kid with the larger (or smaller) card gets to keep both cards.  It is fun to mix it up and not always have the kids with the largest number win.

Flip and Fill

This is a great game for helping kids make the connection between a written numeral and a 10 frame card.  They use a blank 10 frame and a set of numeral cards to play this game.  The blank 10 frame gets laminated so they can write on it.  Give them a dry erase marker and they are set to go!  Flip over a numeral card and build that number on the blank 10 frame.  As kids get more proficient with this, you will see them erasing from or adding onto what they had previously built instead of starting from scratch each time.  

Want to try these out today?  You can grab the playing cards featured in this post here. (50% off for the first 48 hours!) Looking for a different theme?  Check these ones out

What is your favorite way to use 10 frames in the classroom?  Let us know in the comments section below! 


  1. I LOVE these ideas! Thank you for sharing!
    Heidi Butkus

  2. Hello, I really loved reading posts on your blog! I am currently in school obtaining my teaching license and I will love incorporating many of your ideas into my future classroom. I find your ideas of using 10 frames in these ways very fun and engaging. I really like how you can modify these ideas to meet student's ability levels. In my math methods class we learned a lot about using different math manipulatives and how using hands on activities is important to keep students engaged in their learning. Before reading your post, I did not know that you could use 10 frames in so many ways. Thank you for sharing, I really appreciate the new ideas!