Strategies for Addition Facts

Strategies for Addition Facts

  • Counting All:  This is where the basic concept is learned. It is a straightforward strategy. For example, to solve 7+8, the students get 7 of something and 8 of something and counts how many there are altogether. The “something” could be beans or chips or marks on paper. Actually, the students count all the objects to find the sum. The students begin counting from 1.  (This is perhaps not an efficient method, but it is effective, especially for small numbers and easily understood by the student.

  • Counting On (Up):  This is a natural strategy for adding 1, 2, or 3. Counters may or may not be used. As an example with counters, consider 8+3. The student gets 8 beans and then 3 more, but instead of counting the first 8 again, she simply counts the added beans: “9, 10, 11.”  If counters are not used, finger gestures can help keep track of how many more have been counted on.  Teachers often use this by saying, “Put the big number in your head and count up.”

  • Doubles:  Facts such as 4+4 =8 are easier to remember than facts with two different addends. Some visual imagery can help too: two hands for 5+5, a carton of eggs for 6+6, or a calendar for 7+7.

  • Making a 10:  Facts with a sum of 10, such as 7+3 and 6+4, are also easier to remember than other facts. Ten frames can create visual images of making a 10.  The visual imagery helps a student remember.  The following is a good free math site - Illuminations: Ten Frame

  • Using a 10:  Students who are comfortable partitioning and combining small numbers can use that knowledge to find the sums of larger numbers. In particular, there are many strategies that involve using the number 10. For example, to find 9+7, we can decompose 7 into 1+6 and 9+7=9+1+6= 10+6=16.

  • Doubles Plus One:  If you know that 7+7 is then 7+8 is not much harder: it’s just 1 more. Sometimes this is called near doubles.

  • Doubles Minus One:  If you know that 7+7 is then 7+6 is not much harder: it is just one less.

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