Learning the basic rules of addition is arguably one of the first experiences that children will have with the subject of mathematics. One important step involves a concept known as “number bonds”. Simply stated, number bonds are two numbers which can be added together to result in a third number (the sum).
Teaching children about the importance of number bonds is therefore a crucial foundational step before they perform more complex maths activities. To avoid confusion, number bonds up to ten are generally preferred. In other words, children will be taught which digits can be combined to create a sum of ten. What fun methods can be employed so that the process itself remains entertaining?
Introduce the Principle of “Part Versus Whole”
Children will first need to understand how combining two items can sometimes create an entirely unique result. One engaging activity therefore involves creating simple pictures from a series of cut-out segments. While not directly related to mathematics, this activity can be used as an introduction.
Use Colour-Coded Numbers
Children always respond positively to bright colours. Therefore, assign each digit a specific tone. It will then be possible to create a chart that explains how specific numbers can be used to create the sum of ten. Colours help to reinforce which ones work and which digits do not equate to the desired result.
Create a “Bond Machine”
Craft a number bond “machine” that allows children to drop down specific cut-out numbers into two carboard tubes. These tubes can lead to a cup located at the bottom that has been labelled with the number ten. Allow them to freely choose their own numbers and correct them when the make a mistake.
Another benefit of this approach is that you can actively observe how each player progresses. When such a method is used in conjunction with modern Educater EYFS tracking systems, it will be much easier to determine if a specific child requires more assistance.
Create Flash Cards
This traditional approach to number bonds is still a popular option. The benefit here is that children will learn through trial and error (as well as a bit of gentle guidance). The hands-on nature of flash cards may also help to stave off any sense of boredom that your little one might otherwise begin to feel.
Print out a series of cartoon bee images. Assign each wing a number. Some of these numerical combinations can add up to ten while others will not produce the correct result. Ask your child which one represents the desired sum. Of course, feel free to substitute bees for other stimulating images such as butterflies, birds or even coins of different values.
Thankfully, websites such as We Are Teachers will provide you with a plethora of other suggestions to consider. Number bonds are an important part of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and children who are able to enjoy stimulating learning activities will be much more likely to embrace maths as a whole.