The Many Ways to Make 10! A Two-Day Kindergarten Math Lesson

The Many Ways to Make 10! A Two-Day Kindergarten Math Lesson
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Life is a story problem! So when you are presenting a math lesson it is often effective to put it in story form to make it realistic. In this two-day lesson plan students will hear a classic story, Make Way for Ducklings, and see why the number 10 is important. Included are small group activities, assessment and extra resources.

Lesson Plan Day 1


  1. Students will represent addition with objects, acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
  2. Students will compose the number 10 using two addends.


  • Book: Make Way for Ducklings
  • Ten paper ducks (Use the provided duck pattern and make ten copies on yellow construction paper.)
  • Scrap paper and pencils for the students


Show the students the book, Make Way for Ducklings, and tell them that it is a fictional book, which means it is not really true. It is also considered a classic because it has remained popular since it was written seventy-two years ago! Ask children to pay particular attention to how many ducks are shown in the beginning of the book and how many are at the end.

Duck pattern

After reading the book, pass out the ten paper ducks randomly. Then ask the students:

  1. How many ducks were there at the beginning of the story? (2) Instruct two students to stand up and hold up their ducks.
  2. How many baby ducks were hatched? (8) Instruct eight students to stand up and hold up the ducks.
  3. How many ducks in all? Ask one student to count them all.

Then ask a student to write the number sentence on the board that represents the story.


Then say, “Let’s suppose the eight ducklings were in the nest all alone and then Mother Duck and Father Duck joined them. Act this scenario out with students holding the ducks. How would you write the number story?


Now say, “Five of the ducks went for a swim and five ducks stayed on the shore. How many ducks in all?”


There are different ways we can add the ducks together to get ten ducks. Encourage the students to think of other ways to combine the ducks to still have ten ducks. Add a story to go with it. Your options are:













Then move the students holding the ducks into two groups and instruct the students who are seated to write the number sentence that represents what they see on the scrap paper.

Do this several times using different students to be the ducks and different amounts of ducks in each group.

Lesson Plan Day 2


  1. Students will compose the number 10 using two addends.
  2. Students will write number sentences correctly using the addition sign and equal sign.

Materials: (Once you have assembled these supplies you can use them all year for math lessons.)

  • 5 small plastic tubs
  • scrap paper
  • construction paper
  • pencils
  • dice
  • marbles
  • small zip locked plastic bags
  • miniature pom-poms (found in craft stores)
  • plastic cups
  • dominoes
  • two-color counters: These are chips that have a different color on each side. They are found at teacher supply stores, or office-supply stores.


Assemble each tub considering that it will be used by a group of only 4 or 5 students at a time.

  • Tub 1: Include dominoes that have sums of 10 or less, scrap paper and pencils
  • Tub 2: Include a plastic cup for each student in the small group with 10 miniature pom-poms in each cup, one piece of construction paper for each student, scrap paper and pencils.
  • Tub 3: Include a pair of dice for each student, scrap paper and pencils
  • Tub 4: Include plastic baggies each filled with ten marbles on bag for each student, scrap paper and pencils
  • Tub 5: Include a plastic cup with ten two-color counters/chips in each cup. Provide one cup for each student in the small group, scrap paper and pencils.


Say to your students, “Today we are going to work on addition in small groups. I will explain the instructions for each activity and then I will walk around and watch how you are doing. After ten minutes your group will move to another activity. You won’t get to do all of the activities in one day but we will continue on another day.”


  • Tub 1: Place the dominoes in a large pile on the table. Choose one domino and write an addition number sentence to match the domino. So if you count 4 dots on one side and 6 dots on the other side you would write 4+6=10.
  • Tub 2: Each of you will have a cup that has ten pom-poms inside. Place a piece of construction paper in front of you. Gently toss the pom-poms in the air above the paper. Count the number of pom-poms that land on the paper and add it to the number of pom-poms that missed the paper. Write the number sentence on the scrap paper.
  • Tub 3: Roll your pair of dice and add the two numbers together to get the sum. Write the number sentence on the paper.
  • Tub 4: Keep the marbles inside the plastic bags. Slide some marbles to one side and some marbles to the other side. Write the number sentence on the paper.
  • Tub 5: Each student will have a cup filled with ten chips. Shake the chips up and then spill them in front of you. Count the number of one color chip and count the number of the other color chip. Use those two numbers as addends to write a number sentence.

Assessment & Extra Activity


Walk around the room and monitor the students as they work. Are they writing the numbers correctly? Are they using the addition and equal symbols correctly? Are they following the instructions for the activity?

Extra Activity:

  • DVD: Addition and Subtraction Rap: parts 1,2 and 3. Rock ‘N Learn, Inc., 2009.
  • DVD: Addition and Subtraction Rock: parts 1 and 2. Rock ‘N Learn, Inc., 2004.


  • McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. The Viking Press, 1941.