Lesson plan

Adding Cards

Use a fun card game to practice adding numbers in this fun hands-on addition lesson!
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Counting on the Farm pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Counting on the Farm pre-lesson.

Students will be able to solve addition problems using numbers 0-5.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class together and introduce the lesson by singing a number song such as Numbers Song 1–10
  • Say, "Today we are going to practice adding two numbers together! When we put numbers together to see how many there are in all, we call this addition."
(5 minutes)
  • Display the number cards and explain that you will be playing a game to practice adding two groups of numbers together.
  • Place the cards face down in a pile in front of you and demonstrate how to pick one card from the top of the deck and say the number aloud, e.g., "I picked a 3." Then model how to count the same number of math manipulatives as the number on the card, e.g., "I drew the 3 card from the deck, so now I am going to count out 3 bears, 1---2---3. Now I am going to pull a second card from the deck, here is a 2 card. I am going to count out 1--2 more bears." As you model, use a think aloud strategy to share your process with the class, e.g., "How many bears do I have in all? I will count them, 1--2--3--4--5. That means 3 bears plus 2 bears equals 5 bears."
  • Write up the matching equation, 3 + 2 = 5 on the board and demonstrate how to read the equation to the class.
(10 minutes)
  • Play the same game collaboratively as a group. This time as you draw a card, hold it up and encourage the class to say the number aloud. Then invite the students to count chorally (or echo as needed) as you count out the matching number of manipulatives. Repeat with the second card and finding the total number or sum of the two cards.
  • Model how to use the cards to write a matching addition equation on the board and have students echo read the equation after you.
  • Explain that now students will get to play the game with a partner. Demonstrate how the first student (Partner A) will choose the first card and count out the first set of manipulatives, then the second student (Partner B) will choose the second card and count out the second set of manipulatives. Finally, both partners will work together to find the total, or sum of their cards.
(15 minutes)
  • Tell the students that now they will get to practice solving some more addition problems on their own using pictures and math manipulatives.
  • Show the How Many Fish Are There? worksheet and review the instructions.
  • Pass out worksheets, math counters, and pencils to each student.


  • Prior to this lesson, review the numbers 0–10 using songs, echo counting, activities, and games.
  • Provide individual number lines and/or hundreds charts for students to use during the independent work portion of the lesson.
  • Focus on one strategy for students to use when solving addition equations (e.g., moving the math manipulatives as they are being counted to provide both a visual and tactile learning experience).


  • Introduce students to addition equations in the standard format (5 + 3 = 8) and have students practice solving these equations using numbers instead of visuals.
  • Provide students with additional practice by having them solve addition equations using number 0–10 or 11–20 depending on their ability.
  • Encourage students to solve problems using additional strategies (e.g., using a number line, math counters, drawing pictures, etc.) and to practice explaining how and when to choose each strategy.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students guiding questions as they work to assess their understanding of the objective. Questions could include, "What is the number on your card? How do you know? How many math counters are you placing under the card? How do you know it is ____ number? How many are there in all? How do you know?"
  • Check for any areas of confusion or misunderstanding (e.g., counting the same object more than once, skipping objects when counting, subtracting instead of adding, etc.).
  • Collect student work samples and check for accuracy of student work.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together and play one more round of Choose It this time, choose a number card and invite that number of students to the front of the room. Have the rest of the class count the students chorally as you point to each one. Draw a second card and repeat with additional students. Encourage the class to count with you to find the total number of students. Write up the equation on the board to match the cards drawn.
  • Close by having students turn and talk to a partner to share something they enjoyed about today's math lesson.

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