Differentiated Practice with Number Bonds

Feb 13, 2016

Part Part Whole, math facts, fluency, flexibility, application....oh man!  We are working so hard on these skills in our math class.  But (as we all know too well) our students are mastering these must-have skills at their own pace.  And we need to be available to meet them where they are.

Jess (my teammate) and I have tweaked our classroom instruction and routines so many times in the last two years because of our strong belief to support them where they are.  And fine-tuning our routines...well...let's be honest, we will probably never find the best way to do it.  Because our student needs are always changing.  But we will certainly keep trying :)

Recently, we changed up what we call "My Number Time."  This is a 30 minute block of time that we use to differentiate our instruction by providing time for independent work, cooperative groups, and small group interventions.  Some students are working specifically on "their number" that they are trying to master the number bonds for.  Another set of students are playing math games to build their fluency with all number bonds, doubles, making ten, or other +/- strategy.  Then a third group of students is in an intervention group.  Students move between these groups throughout the week.

We just changed up our "My Number Time" with these binders.  The sheets within them are laminated.  The gallon sized bag is filled with all the materials they could need to "play" with their number: chips, cubes, rekenreks, number bracelets, beans, markers, etc.  The binders will work for any number 1-10 that a student may be working on.  They can also use their notebook to record number bonds in a variety of ways.

So far all of our math classes have really enjoyed the new binders.  They are so hands on and allow them to make choices for how they want to "play" with the numbers on that day.  When they feel ready, they are allowed to take an assessment on the number bonds for that number.  It includes many missing addend, subtraction, and addition problems.

One piece that we continued to feel was missing from this "My Number Time" was the ability to go back and "play" with number bonds that have been previously mastered.  Now...they are certainly getting that practice during their game time with all number bonds.  But we wanted more.

I decided to try out a number bond memory game.  Again, I wanted it to be differentiated, just like this block of time is.  What I came up with was this:


There are four different versions and each version is differentiated by the number bonds that the student is current working on.  As soon as they were complete, my daughter and I tested them out (she needs some work in this area, too).

Version 1: Quick Image Memory


This game works on one specific number at a time.  The example above is for the number 5.  Students have to match quick images that have the same number bond.  The two cards flipped over above are not a match because one shows 5 + 0 and the other illustrates 3 + 2.  The quick images included are ten frames, dots, rekenreks, dice, dominoes, and fingers.

Version 2:Number Bond Memory


 Again, this game works on only one number per game.  This time the students must match the number bond to the quick image.  The cards flipped over above do match because they both show 5 + 0 or 0 + 5.

Version 3: Number Bond Memory


This version is played the same way. You must match the number bond and they quick image; however, these game include multiple numbers.  The game above is for the numbers 3-6.  This allows my students to practice all the number bonds that they have learned for 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Version 4: Ways To Make Memory


This version is a little different than the others above.  It includes equations.  Students must match ways to make a particular number.  For example, the cards above do not make a match because they equate to different numbers.  If the cards 3 + 3 and 4 + 2 were flipped over, they would be a match!

After introducing this to my daughter, she just kept asking to play more.  I found that she was really getting to know her bonds 3-6 well.  That made me a happy mom.

The games are all printed, cut, and laminated for our classroom students.  There ended up being 26 DIFFERENT games!  Yikes!  We want to use them during their group game time but we also feel that they could use the individual number games independently during their "play" with number time.

How do you differentiate for math facts and number bonds in your classroom?  Do you have any tips you can pass on to us??!!

If you think you could use these games, as well, you can just click on the image below:



  1. My kiddos love those games! They are asking for them during math centers; you can't beat it when they are excited about doing math. :) Thanks for sharing!


  2. So much to learn here! Thanks for many great ideas and strategies.


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