EL Support Lesson

Build It on a Ten Frame

Students will get plenty of practice composing tens with ten frames to add to 20! Use this scaffolded EL Lesson alone or for more addition practice before teaching the **Scavenger Hunt Addition** lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Scavenger Hunt Addition lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Scavenger Hunt Addition lesson plan.

Students will be able to solve basic addition problems to 20 by composing a 10.


Students will be able to explain steps to calculate sums within 20 using counters in ten frames as a visual reference.

(5 minutes)
  • Play "Flash" to help students form mental images of numbers 11-20. Display a blank Double Ten Frame Mat on a document camera, and ask students how many spaces there are (20).
  • With the document camera turned off, fill the double ten frames with 14 circular counters.
  • Turn on the document camera and let children look at the ten frames for three to five seconds before hiding the counters.
  • Ask students how many counters they saw. Accept all answers, and be sure to ask students to explain their thinking.
  • Quickly display the double ten frames again, and then hide. Ask students if anyone would like to change their answer.
  • Finally, allow students to look closely at the counters and discuss strategies for "seeing" the total. For example, do students count each counter individually, or see a group of ten and count on?
  • Continue with a few more rounds focusing on numbers between 10 and 20.
  • Tell students that today they will practice composing, or making, a 10 to solve addition problems using ten frames.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students the story problem, "My friend Camilo loves fish! Camilo has nine goldfish and five guppies in his fish tank. How many fish does Camilo have all together?"
  • Prompt students to retell the story problem in their own words. Discuss whether the problem requires addition or subtraction, and why.
  • Choose volunteers to suggest strategies for solving the problem such as drawing a picture or counting forward on the number line.
  • Project the Double Ten Frame Mat. Tell students that double means two. Here, there are two ten frames.
  • Ask students to show you on their fingers how many goldfish Camilo has, and count chorally as you add nine counters to the top ten frame. Repeat with guppies, adding five counters to the bottom ten frame. Count on from nine to solve the problem 9 + 5 = 14.
  • Ask students to look closely at the counters, and think about if there is a way that they could move the counters so that they could solve the addition problem without counting.
  • Choose a student to move a counter from the bottom ten frame to the top ten frame to model composing a 10. Think aloud, "Our total number of counters has not changed. When the counters are arranged this way, I see that 10 + 4 = 14".
  • Remind students of the original problem as you write 9 + 5 = 10 + 4 on the board. Tell students that the equations 10 + 4 and 9 = 5 are equivalent, or the same.
  • Model solving a few more addition problems with addends of seven, eight, or nine, composing a 10 on the double ten frame.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Double Ten Frame Mat and 20 counters to student pairs.
  • Create an anchor chart titled "Compose a 10 to Add" and write the following steps:
    1. Build the two parts in separate ten frames with counters.
    2. Compose a 10 by moving counters to fill the top ten frame.
    3. Write the equation 10 + ____ = ____ to solve.
  • Tell students an addition problem orally, and write it on the board. For example, 8 + 7.
  • Instruct partners to each build each part of the number sentence in a separate ten frame on the mat.
  • Have partners work together to move counters to compose a a 10.
  • Instruct Partner A to share the original equation: 8 + 7 = 15. Instruct Partner B to share the equivalent equation 10 + 5 = 15.
  • Continue with more practice problems, either giving students problems orally or distributing flash cards with addition problems within 20 to partnerships.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Spring Into Addition: One-Digit Addition Practice worksheet.
  • Prompt students to work with a partner to solve the problems using counters and the Double Ten Frame Mat.
  • Model building one addend on the top ten frame, and the second addend on the bottom ten frame. Model composing a 10 to calcuate the total. Guide students to recognize that the problems can be solved more easily if they build the larger addend in the top ten frame (i.e., show 9 + 4 rather than 4 + 9.)
  • Even if students have the facts memorized, instruct them to build the numbers on the Double Ten Frame Mat for practice composing a 10.


  • If students do not know number names in English, allow them to count using their home language (L1).
  • Review the concept of addition using manipulatives and real-world context.


  • Encourage students to explain why composing a 10 makes the problem easier to solve.
  • Instruct students to explain the steps to add by composing a 10 in their own words.
(3 minutes)
  • Rotate in the classroom as students complete the worksheet and note students' ability to compose a 10 to add. Observe whether students are able to count accurately to represent the problem on two seperate ten frames, compose a 10, and restate the equivalent equation.
  • Assess the language objective by prompting students to explain their thinking as you circulate. Ask students questions such as "What is the next step?" and "How did you solve the problem?"
(2 minutes)
  • Encourage students to reflect on using double ten frames as a tool to solve addition problems.
  • Tell students to give you a thumbs up if composing a 10 helped them to solve the problems.
  • Play the Ten Frame Song to review.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items