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How To Teach Addition to 5 With Addition Model Matching to Addition Sentences

In this article, we are going to be learning differentiated instruction, how to teach a kindergarten intervention lesson for addition to five with model matching to addition sentences.

The lesson is segmented into the following five categories

  1. Introduction

  2. Guiding Question

  3. Teacher Modeling

  4. Independent Practice

  5. Assessment

Hi, I'm Bran Hicks with TeachTastic Publishing, where we work hard to scaffold and differentiate lessons for all different types of math intervention.

In this particular intervention we're going to be tackling addition to five with concrete models and matching to addition sentences.


Review academic vocabulary

As the teacher, you can begin this lesson with a review of the academic vocabulary

  • addition sentence

  • addition model

  • in all

  • plus

  • equals

  • concrete


In the discussion portion of this lesson, we’re going to display two blue cubes with one green cube connected. We are also going to display three orange cubes connected, placed just below them.

Ask the students

  • What do you see?

  • What do you notice?

  • Does anyone think they can make up an addition sentence that explains this model?

As you move along with the questions, there are some things to listen for and notice. Are you hearing the kids making the connections between what they see? “I see two blue cubes” and “I see one green cube” might be common things they say.

Are they able to form addition sentences or articulate that two and one is three?

Are they making the connections between the two and one, and as a bonus, are they getting “plus” and “equals” in their comments?

The lesson before this was focused on “and” and “is,” and we want the students to be hearing and saying “plus” and “equals” as many times as possible.

Those are your look-for items.

Guiding Question

“Can a concrete model show the same thing as an addition sentence with numbers?”

Now go ahead and let the students talk, sharing their previous knowledge on addition concepts, especially concepts related to “and” and “is” and putting together.

Teacher Modeling

Place cubes on the table – three green cubes and one purple cube.

The first cube has three green cubes and one purple cube. Ask “What addition sentence does this look like?” The students should be able to articulate 3 + 1 = 4.

Place the second set of cubes on the table – one green cube and two purple cubes. Say to the students, “This set of cubes has one green cube and two purple cubes. What addition sentence does this look like?”

Listening to the students, they should be getting closer to saying 1 + 2 = 3.

Pre-made addition sentences can be written up on sticky notes or scrap paper. Ask the students to match addition sentences with a model they create. Then, have them ask a friend if they agree or disagree with the model match. Whether they agree or disagree, the students must justify or explain their answers.

Answers may vary, so guide the conversation, letting it go as long as three or four minutes if the conversation is productive, then come back to the topic at hand.

Let the students know that when explaining an answer, it’s a good idea to use the word “because.” This lets the listener know that you understand why something is true or not true. Ask them to try these sentence starters and explain to a partner why they believe the addition sentence is true or not true.

  • “I know the addition sentence is true because....”

  • “I know the addition sentence is not true because....”

Listen for their answers; the student answers should reflect statements like, “This model is correct because there is one green cube and two purple cubes, and three total cubes together.”

Independent Work Time

For independent work time, you’re going to have a set of manipulatives on the table ready for the students as well as copies of the practice worksheet. While the students work, observe who is not still using the manipulatives. The goal is for all students to work through all four problems independently with only the models shown in the worksheet.

Suppose a student is still using the manipulatives; gauge whether they are using them to make more meaning for themselves or using them as a tool to help them focus. Either way, it’s no big deal. It is just a good thing to observe and to notice to get to know your learners just a little better.

Teacher Tips

TEACHER TIP #1 Use Math Link Cubes

In traditional lessons I might use chip counters just like this. They are bright, they are brilliant, they are fun to count out and we can count groups for all kinds of things. But, in this particular lesson the concept we are trying to solidify and really bring home is the concept of two things coming together. It's that addition, so when things come together they equal something and it is one whole total so being able to connect them and they stay connected teacher to number one

TEACHER TIP #2 Offer a Sensory Experience

When giving students choice, offer your connecting cubes and as many color variations as possible. Keep them bold. Keep them bright. Make them highly tactile and make sure they have that snap. If they can connect stay together have a nice snap the kids are going to engage and be a lot more interested in working with them.

Manipulatives you've seen in my lesson today


We’re going to conclude with a worksheet that has four very strategic questions with oversized fonts and graphics. It has an area for instructions at the bottom that can be read aloud by the student to the teacher, and in the instructions, there are key words written in red. Lastly, there is a proficiency scale that is going to allow teachers to give fast, immediate feedback on the assessment.

Proficiency scale is based on a four tier model

  1. Beginning

  2. Practicing

  3. Emerging

  4. Proficient

As we bring this lesson to a close, if you’re interested in learning more about my lesson planning or the printed materials – the worksheet, the assessment, anything that goes along with it – please click through the link below.

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