Are your students having great difficulty counting and understanding number relationships with numbers beyond 100? Well, I definitely understand!

Building number relationships and number sense can be a struggle.

According to the common core standards, students in the 1st grade should be able to count to 120. By 2nd grade students are expected to understand multi-digit numbers up to 1,000. For struggling students, there is a huge number sense gap that needs to be filled.

To help fill this gap, I want to share 3 math routines that have helped me in the past.

Many of the routines are counting sequences that will ultimately help your students better understand relationships among numbers.

**What is the Number Bounce Routine?**

**What is the Number Bounce Routine?**

The Number Bounce Routine is a quick counting routine in which students and teachers count forward and backward in a given sequence.

__How does the Number Bounce Routine Work?__

Begin this routine by telling your students that you will count forward or backward by ones starting with a specific number and ending with a specific number. Let your students know that when you tap them, they will have to say the next number. Here is one example using the start number 213 and the end number 235. I start counting forward by ones like: 213, 214, 215, 216. Next I tap a student on the shoulder. The student says 217. Then I continue counting: 218, 219, 220. I tap a different student. The student says 221. I continue to count in this way until I have given most of the students an opportunity to answer. The student who says the last number in the sequence says, “235. Bounce” and gets the opportunity to do a 20-second celebratory dance.

__Modify this Routine with Decimals and Fractions__

This routine also works well for fractions and decimals. Since decimals are pretty difficult for students it is critical that we infuse this type of counting method. Check out the example below:

__How long will the Number Bounce Routine take?__

**What is the Base Ten Toss Routine?**

**What is the Base Ten Toss Routine?**

__How does the Base Ten Toss Routine work?__

__Modify this routine with Larger Numbers and Decimals__

__How long will the Base Ten Routine take?__

This routine should around 5 – 10 minutes. It can be used anytime during the day when students need to get out the wiggles or as a daily opening to your math lesson.

**What is the Amazing Race Routine?**

**What is the Amazing Race Routine?**

This routine is intended to help students break down numbers in various ways.

__How does the Amazing Race Routine work?__

Students work in pairs to decompose a given number in as many different ways as they can. You should provide each partner pair with a blank piece of paper or sheet like the one in the photo.

You can give your students 5 – 10 minutes to record as many different ways to represent the number as possible. After the time is up, 1 or 2 partner pairs can randomly be selected to share what they recorded, in front of the class.

As a quick tip, you can award team points to partner pairs that had the most inventive and correct ways. It’s very important check for accuracy.

Click on the picture for to opt in for the FREE download. There is one for younger children (big circles) and older children (smaller circles).

I really enjoy this activity because my students had an opportunity to communicate their mathematical thinking with one another. This is also a very open-ended routine.

Students get a chance to be as creative as possible when recording. There were times when I was reviewing my students’ answers and thought, I would have never come up with that!

When you first start this routine, your students may only have 2 or 3 different ways. That’s OKAY….. If you consistently use this routine your students will evolve and ultimately fill the page!

__Use this Routine with Fractions and Decimals__

This routine can easily be adapted to fractions or decimals. For example, you can write 7/10 or 0.7 as the number of the day.

__How long will the Amazing Race Routine take?__

This wraps up the 3 routines to build number sense. I hope you enjoyed all of these tips to help with your kids.

Do you have any number sense math routines you use in your classrooms? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Dawn says

Will be giving the ball toss a try in my room.

Pat McFadyen says

What a great post! I didn't know about the first two routines – I love them. thank you for a great addition to my math tool belt!

Greg says

Great! I find that these activities are very easy to implement and can easily turn into daily or weekly math routines.

LoveMySeconds says

Love the amazing race and do something similar in our calendar math books we got from lakeshore. Plan to design my own next year. Really love the Bounce idea and will be using it for skip counting with triple digit numbers with my kids. The anticipation will totally keep them engaged! Thank you for sharing your expertise!

Statia says

Excellent! Thanks for sharing!!

Christy says

I like these ideas. I'm going to try them with my students. Thank you for sharing.

Danielle Meier says

I really like the base ten toss game. It is so important for students to understand place value and what the numbers in different places actually are. And this game really gets students thinking about and talking about the place values in base ten while playing a game. What kiddos don’t like learning through games?! I think that the Amazing Race game is also a great way for students to understand that numbers can be made so many different ways, build number sense, and to have them go back and review ways that they haven’t looked at in a while may trigger thinking for future math problems they encounter. Having the students work in pairs also helps them see that students don’t all think the same and they may learn something new from their partner! This is something that I think would be really helpful and I plan to use in my future classroom!

Jessica Hahn says

Love this! Just began the amazing race with numbers and my kids eat it up!!! Thank you!

Greg says

That is great to hear Jessica! The Amazing Race is a very fun math routine. I always love to hear about student responses.

Greg

Unknown says

Agreed! Agreed! Honestly you can tell which students are struggling with number sense by asking them to number in sequence in double digit or triple digit. One of the favorite activities I have been using is from Marilyn Burns Math By All Means: Place Value 1st-2nd grade. We play Race for 100 with base ten blocks. They roll 2 die and take that number of cubes. They take turns with their partner and trade cubes for ten rods as needed on their race for 100. The advanced students are better at getting the making 10 relationships down and they end up rolling faster making mental exchanges so they often proceed beyond 100. This year I started to make them build their quantity on top of a 100 flat. Then a few times I have stopped them part way through the game and have them record how many they have in their math journals and also how many more they need to get to 100. This was challenging for those who are still building number sense. We play a similar game with pennies and dimes. We also number 25 numbers per day until we get to 1000 and then we have a party. I am seeing progress with my students who struggled to number past 100 when we first started out.

Greg says

I wish I knew your name. You provided such thoughtful and clear feedback. I really love using all things by Math Solutions and Marilyn Burns. Building number sense is so important with children. I love the way you utilize different tools including base ten blocks, coins and math journals to reinforce numbers with your students. It sounds very exciting.

kbenedick says

May I email to request the Flip and Go cards to build number sense? My email Download link again gave me the message

404 – File or directory not found.

The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Greg says

I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulty downloading the Flip & Go Math Cards. I just checked the link myself and I was able to downloaded with no problem. Please email me at mrelementarymath@gmail.com and I will ensure that you receive them.

Greg

Sandy says

Thank you! The Amazing Race is a great idea and would be helpful for my first graders who are having difficulty understanding that numbers can be represented in different ways. I like to use ten frames with dots in different configurations to help students solidify their knowledge of the 5 and 10 anchor numbers, as well as decomposition/recomposition of numbers to 10. I plan to check out some of your older posts for other great ideas!!

Greg says

Thank you Sandy. I love that you have your students decomposing numbers. This will make things so much easier when they get to the upper grade and have to add and subtract larger numbers. Dot cards and ten frames are excellent tools for teaching benchmark numbers. Thank you for your comments. I hope you find more useful information on my blog. I am currently working on a post about using number lines to build number sense. Be on the lookout!

Greg

Korey Aquino says

Excited to use these activities tomorrow! Thanks for the freebies, too.

Greg says

Thanks Korey. Your welcome. Be sure to come back and comment so we know how it went in your classroom.

Greg

Brandi Wayment says

Great ideas! The Amazing Race is getting written in this week's plans right now.

Brandi

The Research Based Classroom

Greg says

Thanks Brandi! I am glad you like the Amazing Race. It is a really fun and engaging routine to implement in classrooms. Enjoy!

Greg

Jenny G. says

Wow! I am so excited to have found you today through this hop! Thank you so much for these great ideas for number sense and your freebie!! This teacher is super appreciative! 🙂 🙂

Greg says

Your welcome Jenny! I am glad you found my website. Stay tuned for more elementary math ideas and resources. Be sure to check out some of my older blog post about using hundreds charts to build number sense.

Greg

The Math Spot says

I love how ACTIVE your routines are! Our math program (Engage NY) has many warm up activities similar to your counting suggestions above but many of the activities lack movement and student engagement. I will be keeping my eye out in the future for ways to tweak the rules to make our fluency activities as engaging as the ones you described above. Thanks!

Greg says

Thanks so much! I try to think of ways to modify activities for engagement. I know that it is hard for adults to sit still for long long periods of time and "get" information, so I know it must really be hard for our kids. I always try to think of some kind of way for them to get points or make a lesson into a friendly competition. Please share what you find to work in your classroom once finish tweaking.

Greg

Greg

Evil Math Wizard says

Super ideas, love the differentiation. Always great tips, thanks for being such a good resource for math ideas!

Greg says

Thanks Deidre! I am always trying to think of ways to differentiate and not reinvent the wheel!

Greg

Puddiesmom says

Love these ideas. I'm going to try them starting this week. Thank you!

Greg says

Thank you. Number sense is such an important skill, I glad you found some useful information. I hope you have a great week!

Greg

Sarah M says

Superb! Love how easily these can be integrated and how powerful they are! I will be using the Amazing Race for sure! Great examples of how these routines can be used at various levels. Thanks so much!

All the best–

Sarah

Greg says

Thanks Sarah! I love using the Amazing Race. It really gets kids excited about math. Let me know how it goes.

Gerg

rkteacher says

Thank you for these cool routines. I can use the number bounce in my first grade classroom. I'm thinking of using it to count by twos, fives, tens, etc. as well. I also love the amazing race and will start with decomposing a ten at first, but can differentiate it to allow my higher students work with harder numbers. Thanks so much for sharing! I couldn't get the flip and go math cards to download by the way.

Greg says

Good Morning rkteacher,

I am glad that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for sharing how you will use and differentiate some of the math routines with your first graders. It sounds exciting. Please come back and share how things went with your students.

I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulty downloading the Flip & Go Math Cards. Please check your email, specifically your junk email to see if you received an email from Mr. Elementary Math. Within your email you should find a link with the download. I hope this works for you. If not, please email me at mrelementarymath@gmail.com and I will ensure that you receive them.

Thanks again,

Greg

Mrs. G says

Wow! I can use these in my middles school class (our number sense is lacking). Thanks for sharing!

Greg says

Mrs. G.,

I am glad to hear that these routines will work with your middle school students as well.

Thanks,

Greg Coleman

Donna Boucher says

Greg, great post! These routines are so simple, and I love the way you explain how to level them up. I'm with Tara, I love the Amazing Race!

Donna

Math Coach’s CornerGreg says

Thanks Donna for sharing!! The Amazing Race is truly a fun activity for the students. Please let me know how they go with your kids.

Greg

Debbie from Southgate, Michigan says

All great ideas. I am definitely planning on using these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Greg says

Thanks for commenting Debbie. Please let me know how these routines work with your students.

Greg

TheElementary MathManiac says

Love the idea of the amazing race. I try doing something similar to this but without the great graphic and cool name. I will definitely be using your idea this year! We have only been back in school 3 days but we will be introducing a lot of number sense routines next week!

Tara

The Math Maniac

Greg says

Tara,

Thanks for your feedback. I used the Amazing Race years ago without the structures above. It went okay but then I revamped it to include the structures above and my students loved it! It was definitely more engaging and cooperative when they did it as a pair and as a game. Please let me know how this works with your students.

Greg