How to easily teach First Graders how to decompose numbers

Decomposing Numbers in the 1st grade classroom

Hey, friends! I hope each of you are doing well. Life has been crazy busy between two teens and school.

Teaching students to decompose numbers in any grade level can be tricky.

I'm not sure about you, but our curriculum jams everything in at once and it used to kinda make me "lose my marbles" as well as the kids. They "the state" wants our students to decide if a number is even/odd, place value, expanded form and oh so much more. It is so many concepts at once!

I have found a way to incorporate all of those concepts (and more) into our daily routine. It really helped to give students a way to practice daily and it builds (depending on the number of days you've been in school) during the year.

Now, I start this on Day 1....yes I know sounds crazy. You are probably thinking, there is NO WAY I have time for this the first day of school. She has lost her own marbles. haha 😉

The first few weeks I would walk through each step as a class. 

  • We look at the number and decide if it is even or odd (and why).
  •  I have students create a number bond using the number of the day as the answer. They will come up with different numbers, especially as the year progresses. As the number grows, you will be blown away at the problems they create. 
  • We complete the place value before we move to expanded notation. I am a stickler on having my students do this step before moving on to the expanded form problem. Having students complete place value first helps them have a better grasp before they try to create expanded form. 
  • They color the flats, longs, cubes
  • We discuss what number comes before, after and at day 10 we add in 10 less and 10 more. Try pulling up a 100's chart for students to visually see what it looks like. Find the number of the day and look at the numbers around it (before, after, above and under). The more resources we give our students the easier it is for them to understand concepts that can be very HARD. 
  • Give yourself GRACE. It can take time, seems overwhelming at first, but it is oh, so worth it  The progress you will see will be amazing. 

Later, I use this as part of their morning work. They come into the classroom, put away their supplies and complete the paper. We check our work together. After they get the hang of it, they can complete it in under 5 minutes and are building a strong number foundation. Extra benefit: it is print and go!

Are you excited to see what I use to save time and my sanity when teaching students to decompose numbers? You can check it out below. 

This product covers: 

  • Even/Odd
  • Number Bonds
  • Expanded Notation (Form)
  • Number before, after, 10 less, 10 more
  • Flats, longs and cubes
Here are a few testimonials on how it has helped other students across the globe. 

"This is a great resource to use starting at the beginning of the year. Judging from last year and where my students struggled most, I like how this will give them the practice they'll need to master those key concepts later on in the year (number bonds / place value/ more/less)"

"This is a great resource to continue to review concepts for my math-phobic son! Thanks!"

"I am slowly, but surely learning the ropes of first grade! This resource has been a big help!"

You can grab your own copy by clicking HERE.

I really hope this strengthens your students number sense and gives them a strong foundation to help them succeed in future important math skills.