EL Support Lesson

Snap Cube Numbers

In this hands-on lesson plan, students will learn all about place value while practicing their teen numbers. Can be used as a stand alone or support lesson for the **Place Value Practice** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Place Value Practice lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Place Value Practice lesson plan.

Students will be able to compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into 10 ones and some further ones using drawings and counting manipulatives.


Students will be able to describe the value of digits in the tens and ones places, and compose and decompose teen numbers with manipulatives using partner support.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students together for the lesson.
  • Play the "Something Happens in the Teens" song.
  • Tell the students to show you a number less than 10 on their fingers.
  • Ask, "Can just one person show 14 fingers?" Have students give you a thumbs up or thumbs down to share what they think.
  • Pair students together and have them work together to show 14 fingers.
  • Model a think aloud to share what you see, "I see one set of ten fingers, and four extra fingers. One set of ten plus four, is 14." Point to the raised fingers as you say, "Lets count by ten first: ten. Now lets count the leftovers: one, two, three, four. One ten and four ones makes 14."
  • Model showing and counting a few other teen numbers as a class.
(5 minutes)
  • Hold up both of your hands showing 10 fingers, clasp them together and say, "I have a group of 10." Have students repeat the actions to make their own group of ten.
  • Display a tower of 10 snap cubes (or similar manipulative) on the board, and label it ten. Explain that 10 ones all together is called a group of 10.
  • Display a single snap cube on the board, and label it one. Then count out nine more snap cubes and line them up next to the tower to show that each group equals 10. Explain that single cubes less than 10 are called ones.
  • Model how to make different teen numbers using snap cubes in groups of tens and ones by saying, "One 10 and three ones: 13." Ask students to repeat after you as you point to the snap cubes.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to practice building numbers using the snap cubes with a partner.
  • Pass out snap cubes to students and tell them to work together to build the number you say aloud.
  • Call out a number between 1-19. Students should build the number using their snap cubes.
  • Remind students that groups of tens should be in a tower and single ones should be lined up next to the tens.
  • Have students give a thumbs up when they have made the number.
  • Write the number on the board and have students repeat after you to confirm the number of tens and ones in each number. For example, "Eleven. One 10 and one one."
  • Repeat with additional numbers.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to work with a partner to break apart numbers into groups of tens and ones.
  • Model (with a student volunteer) having Partner A say a number between 1-19. Partner B should then build the number using their snap cubes. Then, switch roles. Emphasize that students should check each others work by counting out a group of 10 and leftover ones together.
  • Partner students and pass out snap cubes to each pair.


  • Allow students to count in their home language (L1).
  • Gather together a smaller group of students to work in a teacher-led small group to practice building additional numbers with snap cubes.


  • Teach students to write two-digit numbers with expanded notation, for example 10 + 4 = 14.
  • Provide additional practice identifying the tens and ones in numbers 20-100.
(10 minutes)
  • Observe students in pairs to assess if they are able to count tens and ones accurately, and name the numbers with the base-ten and standard names.
  • Note any common errors to address at closing.
  • Pass out the The Way We Write Our Numbers worksheet for students to complete.
  • Collect work samples to further assess if students are able to identify the tens and ones in a teen number accurately.
(5 minutes)
  • Close the lesson by showing a number with snap cubes that has both tens and ones. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner to share what number it is.
  • Ask students to think about how they knew what the number was and encourage them to share with the group.

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