classroom.jpgUnit 1 reviews and builds on children's knowledge of embedded numbers. The exploration of the specific components of a number allows children to recognize that each number has other numbers "hiding" inside it. By developing children's awareness of the ways in which numbers can be broken apart and put together, children learn what these "hidden" numbers are. This in turn provides a solid foundation for understanding basic addition and subtraction operations and equations.

Children initially learn about breaking numbers into smaller components by using counters and a Break-apart Stick to help them see the groups within a group. external image msword.png Counters with a Break.doc Along with these physical supports, children are encouraged to relate break-aparts to their everyday lives by telling their own stories:
  • There were 4 leaves under the tree. Three were yellow and one was red.
The two smaller numbers that together make a larger number are referred to as partners. The display above shows number 4 has the partners 1 and 3 and also 2 and 2.
Once children understand the concept of embeddedness, they need to learn exactly what partners are "hiding" within each number. Math Expressions uses a variety of activites to help children master the number partners through number ten.

Circle drawings are used to illustrate addition expressions as children are introduces to the plus sign. Children first draw the "break-apart line" and then color the circles to show the different partners. Children learn to switch the partners and see how 1 + 3 and 3 + 1 are related.

Math Expressions offers many ways for children to see 5-groups. The Number Parade that is displayed in the classroom relates numerals to 5-group dots. Many opening practice activities involve rhymes that are enjoyable and easy for children to remember. Five Crows in a Row allows children to use their fingers to practice the 5-groups and totals. Five crows in a row (hold up five fingers on one hand) and three below. (hold up three fingers on the other hand below) How many?

Number writing practice include the introduction to numeric patterns. In addition to numbers, children also use sounds (clap-stomp, clap-stomp) and words (pig-duck-cow, pig-duck-cow) to generate patterns. 3 5 5 3 5 5

The concept of patterns is extended as children learn to draw and name simple geometric shapes and to describe their attributes. The number of sides on a geometric figure reinforces the early number activities. Triangles, for example, are taught with the number 3.

Children use various lengths of Stair Steps to find 1-more and 1-less patterns. The sequence of all the Stair Steps illustrates these relationships in a
way that is easy to visualize.

Fuson, Karen, Math Expressions, Unit 1 Overview