What Order Should We Teach Addition Facts In?

Addition facts with all facts colored in according to type.

If you have been following our number sense series, you know how important it is to build the understanding of number relationships in your children.  Specifically, they need to develop the skills of subitizing, one and two more or less, how to make the benchmarks of 5 and 10, and understanding part-part-whole.

As your children develop these skills, the next question becomes “What do we do next?”  We want them to use these good number sense skills to help them memorize and recall their math facts, right?  But, is there a certain order you should teach math facts in to help children move from using their number sense to figure out facts to quickly recalling their math facts?

Here is the order that has been proposed by experts in math education.  You will see why developing that sense of one and two more or less is so helpful!  If your child has not developed that well, go back and work on that first.

Blog post cover about what order to teach addition facts in.

Teach Doubles Addition Facts

Addition facts table with the doubles, plus and minus 1 and 2 shaded in.

Doubles are the 1 + 1, 2 + 2, 3 + 3, etc.  This is a good place to start with children.  Starting with concrete objects is always helpful.  You can use square tiles or some other type of manipulative.  Lining them up in columns like below can help with the visualization of these facts.  I like to target doubling 1-5 first and then add on 6-10 next.  However, 10 + 10 is one of the first ones my son has memorized so you never know what might interest kids!

Tiles set-up to show doubles addition facts

Once your children are able to recall some of the doubles facts, start asking them facts that will encourage them to think about one and two more or less.  So ask your child “What is 5 + 5 = ?”  After they answer correctly, then ask, “what is 5 + 4 = ?” If they don’t make the connection between these two facts, you may want to say, “We know  5 + 5 = 10 and 5 + 4 is just one less than 5 + 5 so 5 + 4 must equal 9, which is one less that 10.”  Showing this with concrete objects can help with understanding.  If your child does not start to pick up on this, then you may need to back up and work more on the number relationship of one and two more or less.  Here are some ideas for how to do this:

Link to a post titled A Simple, On-the-Go Number Sense Routine. Mom and boy facing each other with numbers floating ovrer his head.Blog post about using an abacus to build number sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the bottom of the page is a bingo game you can download to practice the doubles addition facts.

Teach Make 10 Facts

Addition Facts table with make 10s and one and two more or less than 10 shaded green.

If your child has developed the four number relationships well, then they should breeze through this part of the addition facts table.  These facts include 1 + 9, 2 + 8, 3 + 7, etc.  You also see there is overlap with the doubles facts so your child will get some extra practice with facts that should come easy to them.

Once you work on these facts plus or minus one or two, you will have filled in the vast majority of the facts on the addition fact chart!!

Teach Plus 0 Facts

Addition facts chart with 0 + each number shaded in blue pluse one and two more.

It may seem that you would not have to directly practice adding numbers to 0, but for some children this is a weird concept.  Whenever my kids get stuck on something, I always make the numbers into a story about food or money!  So you may want to ask your child something like, “If you had 3 cookies and I gave you 0 more or no more, how many cookies would you have?”  Changing it into a story problem like this works almost every time in our house!

Again, once they understanding adding zero, target adding one and then, two more.  Now there are very few facts left to learn!

Teach 10 + Something Facts

Addition facts with all facts colored in according to type.

Finally, your children are ready to learn 10 + something.  This can be particularly hard for some children and I really like using our number tiles for this so that the 10 and the units come together to make a teen number.  Understanding part-part-whole is critical to learning this set of math facts.

To review this concept or to download a FREE set of number tiles visit:

Build Number Sense with Part-Part-Whole Circles

Once your child has memorized and can RECALL these four types of facts along with one and two more or less than each of these facts, they will know all of their addition facts!  Yay!

Next week I will give you some more ideas for practicing these facts.  In the meantime, download our bingo game for the doubles addition facts below!

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Pictute of addition bingo

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For more information about teaching math, you may want to check out:

Build Math Minds

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