Decomposing Numbers with Kindergarteners Part One

Decomposing Numbers with Kindergarteners Part One

Field Testing Experience

Three Blue Two Greens

During my recent field-testing in Kindergarten, students worked with different pictures of teddy bear counters and with five frames. I would give the students a picture and they would build the picture in their five frame, then fill in their sentence frames and read them.

Decomposing screen shot
Click to download a PDF of the sentence frame.

They did a great job! They were combining reading and math, while supporting their conceptual development of decomposing numbers. But it got me thinking, where does this lead? Sure it supports their number sense right now, but does it do more?

Here is a video explaining how decomposing numbers fits into the bigger picture of math.

So, decomposing numbers in Kindergarten builds a foundation for understanding number grouping. This carries over into understanding numbers as well as understanding our place value system. So many students see a number for simply the name it holds, like seven. But it is so much more! Truly understanding the number seven, or any number, and flexibly thinking about how to decompose it, will build a foundation for students to know how to decompose numbers in our place value system and bring meaning to the operations we require them to learn.

Here are two ways students could decompose numbers.

Paper Clips

Paper clips

Shoestrings and beads


I will be blogging about some more ideas and thoughts about how decomposing numbers are linked to math concepts. You can view the next post here.

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