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Fun with Decomposing Numbers!

Day 13 for me here.  Yes... 13 days of school already down.  I mean seriously, it literally seems like the first day was yesterday.  It's already flying by!

We all know down in Kinder-World that the entire first (and second, probably third, and even the 4th!) week of school is all about those precious procedures and repeating every single word until our throat hurts.

We are wrapping up week three here and I really feel that this week (even though shortened by Labor Day.... and I'm NOT complaining!) we are starting to get the hang of this thing called "learning".

Math is always one of my favorite subjects to teach because... well.... it's just so gosh dang fun and hands-on!  I LOVE (and I mean I really LOVE) seeing my kinder babies really grasp and understand math!  Teacher heart happy.... check!

In Math we start off pretty basic.... like REALLY basic.  We work on numbers 0 - 5 for FOUR weeks!  Building number sense and a good understanding of numbers is the main goal.... so I will take as long as I need in order for my students to really grasp this!

This week has been all about Decomposing.... and in this case... up to the number 5!

I wanted to share a variety of activities that you can use for decomposing....whether it be decomposing the number 5, 10... or whatever!  These activities can definitely be used for the larger numbers as well.

This chart gets created early on in the decomposing unit because it really gives students a visual of breaking down a number.

This chart stays hanging up in the classroom throughout the unit.  We create it as a whole group and as it begins to come along, the student's eyes light up with understanding!  All you need is POST-ITS!  

The first activity we always start off with (and it's a student favorite!) is making their decomposing bracelets!

All you need is pipe cleaners and pony beads!  
Since we are decomposing the number 5, they each get 5 beads.  

The best part of this activity.... I get to integrate literature!!!  

We choose from these books throughout the week:

As we read through the book and one of the characters "goes away", the students will move a bead on their bracelet...... decomposing the number.

Many of my students LOVE this activity and decomposing really begins to "click".... they even wear them the rest of the week! 

Another favorite activity is the "Dump & Decompose"

Depending on what number you are decomposing, this will determine the number of two-sided counters you will have in your cup! 
For us... it's still about the magic number FIVE!

They shake and "dump" their counters and then they decompose.

In this example... it shows that the number 5 is decomposed into 2 and 3.  (2 red counters and 3 yellow counters)

We shake and "dump" again, questioning each time (is it the same as last time?  what is different?  is it still 5? etc...)

Need a quick activity (and some fine motor skills thrown in the mix?!)

Just grab some popsicle sticks and clothespins!

Simply move the clothespin and decompose!  

This is a great hands-on activity to use as you create the post-it chart from earlier in this post!

Do you need an activity to get your students up and moving?

I found these ADORABLE little bowling sets at the one and only DOLLAR TREE (I grabbed a few packs!) and immediately thought about decomposing numbers!   
~ The pack does have 10 pins and 2 balls!

The great thing about the bowling activity.... you can use it for decomposing TEN... or any number less than that by removing the pins!

I set up the five pins... and I also give my students a dry erase board and marker (but this is totally up to you!)

I make a template on the dry erase board and then have my students roll the ball!

The number of pins knocked down represent the first number and the remaining pins that are standing represent the second number.

The students then just fill in the boxes with the two numbers!

After that student has a turn, the next student goes!  This is great for whole group or small groups!

One of my favorite decomposing activities.... is getting LIFE SIZE!

I picked a package of yellow and red paper plates at the Dollar Tree (I go a little crazy in that store!)
and these plates represent the two sided counters that we already are familiar with and use in the classroom.

Our classroom is half tile and half carpet!  These tile squares are the perfect place to set up a life-size FIVE FRAME!  (you can do a ten frame as well!)

Use the plates to show a visual of decomposing within a five frame.

While not all students can do this at the same time, I made these little Five Frame pages that will allow students to use the small counters and represent the same visual as shown on the large five frame.

You can grab this little FREE five frame sheet by clicking the picture above or by clicking HERE.

The font in the activity from Babbling Abby!

Last.... but definitely NOT least.... you have to have FOOD involved with Math!

I made these little picture mats using Krista Wallden's clipart!  I grabbed some goldfish... and WAH-LAH... we were decomposing!

I give each student 5 fish... but again, you would give the number that you are decomposing!

We start off with all five fish in the water....

As we decompose.... we move "some" fish to the cave!

Again... I want the most exposure to writing the numbers as I possibly can... so they get to write on their tables with dry erase markers.... and yes... they absolutely LOVE it!  (it comes right off with clorox wipes!)

So..... there you have it!  Our week of decomposing the number 5 (but you could EASILY do this with decomposing 10!)

I'm off to bed.... ready to rock Friday tomorrow!

Happy Teaching friends!!!

Jessica Travis
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  1. Jessica you have some great ideas that I am looking forward to using this year in my JK classroom. Thanks so much for the great pictures to showcase these activities.


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