Teaching teen numbers to our students goes beyond knowing what number to say next after they count to ten. There are important math concepts that we teach as we introduce teen numbers to kindergarten students. These concepts will help students build a strong math foundation! In this post, I wanted to give tips on how to teach teen numbers to kindergarten students in an effective and engaging way.
How to Teach Teen Numbers
I have a specific way of teaching teen numbers that really breaks down the process for students. Teaching teen numbers in this way helps me cover the concepts in an order that helps students succeed.
Step One: Identify Teen Numbers
The first step in learning teen numbers is to help students identify them. Give them multiple opportunities to practice number formation, identify the numbers, and become familiar with the number words. I like to use these trace, write, and find worksheets because they are perfect for morning work, centers, small groups, or even homework!
Step Two: Practice Teen Numbers on Ten Frames
Once students have had plenty of practice identifying teen numbers, it’s time to help students visualize teen numbers in the familiar format of a ten frame. This helps students practice counting on from ten to get to a teen number. Using a ten frame mat in a paper protector is one of my favorite methods for teaching this concept.
In my class, we work on this activity as a whole group so students can practice filling in the ten frames as I walk around for extra support and guidance. The paper protectors make it easy to erase and practice different teen numbers. Then we continue working with ten frames using additional hands-on activities, such as Q-tip painting, number building, and creating interactive mini-books.
Step Three: Practice Teen Numbers with Base Ten
Once students have had plenty of opportunities to visualize the concept that a teen number includes a completed ten frame with additional ones, it’s time to model the same concept with base ten blocks. I like to use another whole group mat activity to help students practice modeling teen numbers with base ten blocks or Unifix cubes.
As students build, write, and wipe a variety of teen numbers, I walk around for extra support and guidance. Once they have a good understanding of base ten blocks, we use additional hands-on activities to practice.
I like to use the worksheet above to help students build teen numbers and see the relationship between base ten blocks and ten frames. This is a good visual representation that creates a bridge between familiar ten frames and less-familiar base ten blocks.
Step Four: Identify Tens and Ones Using Ten Frames
The next step in learning about teen numbers is to identify how many tens and ones are in each number. I like to start this discussion using ten frames. I add a mat to a paper protector and then we use ten frames to determine how many tens and ones are in each number. After practicing as a whole group, it’s time to work on additional hands-on activities for tens and ones using ten frames.
Step Five: Identify Tens and Ones Using Base Ten Blocks
Similar to the earlier activities for identifying teen numbers, I like to practice with base ten blocks after using the ten frames. Once students have a good understanding of identifying tens and ones using ten frames, we move on to base ten blocks.
We use the familiar mat activity in paper protectors as a whole group activity so I can check for understanding. Students will use base ten blocks to create teen numbers, then write how many tens and ones are in each number.
Once they have had plenty of practice with this, we move on to additional activities, such as a teen number lift-the-flap craft and matching activity.
This is also a great time to review all of the skills they’ve learned so far. I like to have students create a mini reader that helps them model teen numbers on ten frames, with base ten blocks, and as tens and ones.
Step 6: Decompose Teen Numbers Using Ten Frames
Now that students understand the fact that teen numbers are made up of a ten and ones, I like to help them model this with an addition equation. I start by having students decompose teen numbers using a mat in a paper protector.
After I’ve been able to check in on individual students and can see that they understand this concept, we move on to additional practice activities to help students decompose teen numbers using ten frames.
Step 7: Decompose Teen Numbers Using Base Ten
The final teen number concept that I like to practice with students is how to model addition equations by decomposing numbers using base ten blocks. By now, students are much more familiar with base ten blocks and can practice decomposing teen numbers on their number mats. Then we move on to additional hand-on activities that help students practice this same skill.
Step 8: Practice, Practice, Practice!
By this point, students are becoming more confident with their knowledge of teen numbers and are ready for even more practice. I like to add opportunities for independent practice to math centers, morning work, and small group instruction. It’s also helpful to continue doing whole group activities with teen numbers, such as crafts and interactive books!
Teen Number Kindergarten Activities
The key to learning any new concept is repetition, but young students also need variety in order to stay engaged in practicing the same concept multiple times. This is why I’ve created a resource of 44 unique teen number activities for kindergarten!
This resource will help your students practice teen numbers with hands-on, engaging activities. Students will not only be able to identify and write teen numbers, but they will develop a strong understanding of what teen numbers represent. You can find this product in the A Spoonful of Learning shop or on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Save These Teen Number Teaching Tips for Later
Be sure to save this pin to your favorite kindergarten math board on Pinterest! That way, you can quickly find these tips and resources whenever you need them.