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Tens and Ones

Tens and Ones

By Rebecca Schmidt


First Grade Math


Math Standards:

Standard 1.NBT.2: Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones.


Drama Standards:

Standard 1.T.CR.3: Create a scene or play with a beginning, middle, and end.

Standard 1.T.P.4: Use body to communicate meaning through space, shape, energy, and gesture.


Objective/I Can Statement:

I can identify place values for numbers greater than 100.

Students will demonstrate an ability to write out a place value.

Materials Needed:

5-9 Blocks


Set up blocks at the front of the class.

Might want to make a mark on the floor or use dots as place markers

Hook: Goal--student maintain total space (an awareness of their body and movement across classroom) students explore locomotor steps, students will explore high middle and low.

Ask students to sit on the dots. Review total space:

-walk the space for 8 (start with just walk, add other locomotor choices)

-walk the space for 8 then freeze for 4

-on the freeze pose at high level then middle then low

Step 1:

Today I want to tell you a story, but I have a problem. In the story it says there are 47 scared bunny rabbits. What ways can I show 47 (47 talleys, 47 pictures, 47 kids) but that is so big. I need a way to represent 47.

Write the number 47. This is one way to represent 47. But what if I want to represent it visually?

Maybe if we break it down we can find a way.

Point out that in 47 there are 7 ones. Ones are the small. Is there a movement we have done that is small today (low level) could we create 7 low poses to represent the 7 ones?

Create 7 scared low bunny poses.

Point out the 4. The 4 represents 10’s. Which is bigger 10’s or 1’s? How could we show that these 4 are bigger than the ones? (a higher level). Create 4 scared bunnies at high level poses.

Step 2:

Ask students to gather in a line on one side of the classroom.

Example: Once upon a time there was a ferocious tiger. He was hungry, so he chased 58

scared bunny rabbits.

How many people do we need for the 10’s place? 5!

  • Send 5 students to stand to pose as a scared rabbit, at a medium level.

How many people do we need for the 1’s place? 8!

  • Send 8 student to stand below the blocks to pose as a scared rabbit, at a low level).
  • Ask all students that are posing to return to the end of the line.

He was so thirsty from chasing rabbits that he had to walk 86 tired steps to the river.

(Repeat placement activity).

Finally, he was so tired that he went home to bed where his mom read him stories. How many stories did his mom read to him?

(Repeat placement activity). 

If students show interest in creating 100’s talk about what is bigger 100’s or 10’s how could we show hundreds are bigger?

Step 3:

Continue to repeat the activity, improvising the story as you go along. When improvising the story, try to come up with a beginning, middle, and end. Ask for suggestions from the students as you continue along. What type of animal should it be? How many are there? Once upon a time there was a snake. He traveled through the jungle. He was very hungry, so he wanted to catch mice for dinner. How many mice did he catch? ____________. He was so full that he went to bed and he slept for __________ hours.


Assessment (5-10 minutes):

Ask students to return to dots.

Give each a piece of paper and pencil.

Ask if they can draw the correct amount of people for a number such as 352. Write that number up on the board and give students 5 minutes to visually recreate this number on their piece of paper. They should draw it just like they created it with their bodies during the activity.

Tens and Ones Lesson.CHodgson