A Quick Math Lesson on Addition {Seize the Moment}

Do you ever catch yourself just stopping what you’re doing and taking a moment to listen to your child? These moments can present great opportunities for learning!

Today I was in the kitchen preparing lunch, and Lucy was sitting at the kitchen table playing with her toy cash register (which also happens to be a working calculator). I could tell she was doing some imaginary play because her voice gets about an octave higher when she’s pretending!  She was busy making food in her toy kitchen and then using the cash register to sell it. Then I noticed her voice leave its fun, playful, high tone and return to her regular voice, “Nine plus one equals ten. That’s weird. How can that be? It says nine plus one is 10, but I know five plus five is ten.” This cash register had just told her there was another way to make 10 besides the 5+5 she had learned a while back.

The perfect opportunity had just presented itself! She was learning there are many different ways to make the same number. And, to top it off, she discovered it herself which makes it even more meaningful!


After lunch  I suggested to Lucy that we do a number game. I grabbed something that was easily accessible~ some wooden sticks from our craft area. We counted out ten. Then we spent time splitting the group of ten sticks into two different groups. First she made two groups of five.


5+5 equals 10


How else could we split these sticks into two groups?

She spent time making other various groups~ 1+9, 3+7 etc., and then wrote them down on the paper.


After a while she was content and wanted to move on to another activity.  But Theo was happy to continue stick counting!


Another day it would be fun to work some more on this~ seeing other combinations that make ten, finding a pattern with the combinations, using other manipulatives (abacus, beads and pipe cleaners). The possibilities are endless! I love little “Seize the Moment” teaching moments. They can be as informal and quick as is necessary.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in this previous post~Lessons from a Bathroom Scale

This entry was posted in learning, math, seize the moment, teaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Quick Math Lesson on Addition {Seize the Moment}

  1. Tulip says:

    I love the picture of your daughter as she is thinking. You can really see her brain working on the addition problem. I love how you took the moment to teach even though it wasn’t planned. Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

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