Number Pair Love Hearts
A set of 6 double-sided heart shaped cards with a number on each side so that each card has a number pair to 10 e.g. 4 on one side and 6 on the other, 3 on one side and 7 on the other.
Learning number pairs features in the National Strategies Primary framework and the National Curriculum. Children begin by learning pairs that make10 and move on to 100, 1000 and decimal numbers. I found that many children in KS1 had problems recalling the pairs that make 10 and so I wanted to create a resource that would be visual from the front of the class in order that the children could rehearse them as one of my starter activities. I also wanted it to be a resource that would be easy for teaching assistants to use when rehearsing these skills with those children that needed further practice.
How can I encourage my TA to help practise basic number bonds without a lot of resources?
What I did:
I made up the set of cards and laminated them initially in KS1 for pairs to make 10. Using them at the front of class, children would see the number on one side of the 'love heart' and have to work out the number on the other side by using mental strategies that had been taught previously. With pairs to make 10 they would often use their fingers. For whole class work, I would use small whiteboards or digit fans and children would have to show me the number that they had decided went with the number I was showing. This allowed all the children to join in the activity and also quick assessment of those that needed more support or practice. The children created an element of competition to see who could answer the fastest.
I couldn't believe it when I saw Joseph, a low attaining boy, learning his number bonds to beat the others!
As the children made progress, I simply used a whiteboard pen to write on the laminated card to change the number and was able to use the same cards to work on pairs to make 20, multiples of 10 to total 100 and any two-digit numbers to make 100. I have also used this in Year 6 to work on decimal bonds to total 1.
Would it be useful to have a blank set of cards?
In one-to-one or paired activities, perhaps with the teaching assistant, the children used the love hearts independently, testing each other or using a whiteboard pen to decide on, for example, multiple of 10 pairs to make 100. This type of activity also prompted discussion about what the possible answers could be. For those lower attaining children, the cards can be left out as a resource for them to refer to in other relevant maths work.
Would the children use the resources independently?
I have used the love hearts across the age ranges up to year 6 and have found consistently that the children find them motivating. The activity is quick and simple but provides a good focus for the rehearsal of these skills. It was great to have such a basic resource that could be applied for a variety of pairs of numbers and could be quickly pulled out with no or very little preparation. The resource is particularly useful as a ready-made activity for teaching assistants to use.
The cards made the rehearsing of these pairs of numbers more visual. The idea that the answer was on the reverse of the card presented the children with an element of challenge and also meant the answer was readily available. The heart shape was particularly motivating for girls in the class but could be replaced by another shape or object.
The children became very familiar with the 'love hearts' and knew what the activity would be without me having to do any explanation. I was surprised that they didn't get bored by the repetitiveness but they seemed to enjoy the familiarity. In general, they became much quicker at the recall of basic facts and when used in a year 2 class the children made quick progress learning these number pairs. Children were able to see the connection between pairs to 10 and other totals. When children were struggling in applying this knowledge, I could remind them about the hearts or bring them out to check.