I recently returned from the National Conference on Singapore Math Strategies in Vegas, and it was a fabulous week of learning! Any conference that kicks off with a keynote speech by Ron Clark has got to be great, right? If you have not heard of him or don't know about his Ron Clark Academy, you need to check it out!
A big takeaway for me from the conference is how misunderstood "Singapore Math" really is. I think if you asked people to tell you what they know about Singapore Math, many would say, Oh, that's model drawing. And while that's one part of it, it really starts much earlier than that with their incredible routines for building number sense. Enter number bonds, a cornerstone of Singapore Math.
In her book Why Before How: Singapore Math Computation Strategies, Jana Hazekamp explains number bonds this way:
Number bonds help students see that numbers can be "broken" into pieces to make computation easier. With number bonds, students recognize the relationships between numbers through a written model that shows how the numbers are related.
A number bond for the numbers 2, 3, and 5 might look like the model below. I have also seen the whole on top with the parts branching down.
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|The right side of each flashcard folds over to hide one of the parts. Students can use manipulatives, like the clothespins shown here or the counters shown below, to 'act out' the number bond and find the missing part.|
|Here, two color counters are used.|
After the kiddos have had lots of concrete practice with the missing part flashcards, you can use them as actual flashcards, asking the kiddos to tell you the missing part.
|This is part of the missing part flashcard set. I used a ten-frame for the combinations for ten instead of the random dot patterns.|
This is such a critical skill, and there's no such thing as too much practice for your Kinders and Firsties! You'll want to have many different ways for them to experience number bonds without getting bored. Pictured below you see another missing part activity using number bond cards. Use together with the part/part/whole mat for concrete practice when you first introduce them.
BTW, did you read my post on number bracelets a few days ago? Do you now recognize that as just another number bond activity? :)
Finally, if you want to check out where a number bond goes after Kindergarten, check out this post.