FREEBIE for Composing and Decomposing Numbers


Composing and decomposing numbers is critical learning for Kindergarteners and 1st Graders. This is something that needs to be practiced all year long as students master the combinations first for 5, then 6, then 7, etc. And, of course, they won’t all progress at the same rate. To keep students engaged, you’ll need plenty of activities and games. Today I have a freebie for composing and decomposing numbers that is a twist on a tried and true favorite, Under a Rock.

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Using teddy bear counters, Under a Rock becomes In the Cave.

Here’s the lowdown. Partners work together on a target number. That’s where the differentiation comes in. One pair of students can be working on combinations for 5, while another pair is working on 8 or 10. The students will need an amount of bears equal to their target number. For example, if students are working on the number 5, they use 5 bears. One partner closes his eyes while the other partner puts some of the bears “in the cave”. The other partner then opens his eyes and has to tell how many bears are hidden. I make the kiddos say the equation so they are practicing their combinations out loud.

Two bears outside the cave.  Three bears inside the cave.  2 plus 3 equals 5.

Ready to play?  Grab the recording sheet here.





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