The Common Core Standards present educators with the task of teaching a number of math addition strategies to primary students. Those who are at all familiar with Common Curriculum, in this case primary math, realize it calls for quality over quantity. This means there are fewer standards to teach, but much more in-depth instruction on those that are taught..

The math strategies are almost like a math “toolbox”students can keep stored in their brains for life. They help younger kids have a deeper understanding of place value, and what is really occurring when two numbers are added together.

Using an anchor chart is a very effective way to introduce the strategies to your students. When finished, it can be displayed in the classroom as a reminder until students have the strategies down. Teachers can also make a “Strategy Math Center” and allow primary students to practice strategies already taught each week.

These are 5 strategies primary students must know in order to have a solid mathematical foundation for intermediate level math to come.

• Tally Marks: Students draw the appropriate number of tally marks beside each added, grouping them in groups of five. To solve, they count them all together by 5s to get the total sum.
• Number Line: Draw a number line that will encompass the addends and possible sum of the problem. Begin on the number line with the first addend, then hop the number of the second addend. The number landed on is the sum.
• Decomposing: Decompose addends into tens and ones. For example, 35 would be written as 30 + 5, with the second decomposed addend written and lined up underneath the first. Add the ones, then add the tens. Add the total number of ones to the total number of tens to find the sum.
• Draw a Picture: Students draw symbols, or some kind of pictorial representation of the addends, then count them all to get the sum.
• Counting Up: Students begin with the first addend in their heads, then count up the number of the second addend to find the sum. For example, if adding 3 + 4, begin with 3, count up four times, and end up at 7.

These are five basic strategies to begin the year with, but there are more. Introduce them one at a time, allowing for independent practice afterward.

When they know these well, practice by giving them a certain strategy to use, or let them pick a strategy they’d like to use. Have a share time and let students share why they picked the strategy and how they solved the problem. You will have some little mathematicians on your hands for sure!

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