We’ve been having fun with snow themed activities lately. Last year we used these little snowmen to practice counting and one-to-one correspondence. Since my oldest is in first grade this year I decided to repurpose them into an addition activity to practice doubles facts. If you have a preschooler or kindergartener this activity can easily be modified to practice early addition skills too.
Why Doubles Facts?
If you have a kindergartener or first grader who is beginning to learn doubles you may wonder why these facts are taught. Basically doubles facts are one of the first sets of math facts taught. Examples include 3+3=6 and 9+9=18. They are relatively easy to learn and they can be used for various mental math activities. Once kids know them these facts also serve as anchors to solve near-doubles facts like 3+4=7 and 9+10=19 (which are also referred to as using the doubles plus one and doubles minus one strategies).
Now back to today’s activity…
These are the materials we used to practice doubles facts to 20. If you are doing fewer facts, then you will not need as many snowmen.
- “Snowballs”-white pom poms
- Two sets of small (foam or paper) snowmen labeled with the numbers 0 to 10
- Large (foam or paper) snowmen labeled 0 to 20
We started by choosing two small snowmen with matching numbers. Those were the addends for our addition problem. Then Lovey added the appropriate number of snowballs above each snowman.
To find the sum of the doubles she counted all the snowballs. Then she found the appropriate large snowman to represent the sum of all the snowballs. Although the goal is to get kids to a point where they memorize the doubles facts this serves as a great tool for helping them understand the process of combining the addends to form the total.
We continued on modeling various doubles facts. Then we started manipulating the snowballs to add one or remove one to show doubles plus one and doubles minus one. This is a more difficult strategy for some first graders to grasp, so modeling it in a hands-on way can be very helpful.
Doubles math can be a bit challenging at first. Let us know if this helps in the comments! And if you have any great tips for teaching doubles, share those too! I know our readers are interested in learning more.
For more hands-on ways to teach addition and subtraction facts check out this article.
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