Adding Bears on the Carpet

Area: Operations
Skill: Adding and Subtracting
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Engage students in "Counting On"
Foundational Strategies:
  • Extending mathematical thinking

What to Look for in This Clip:

Teaching students the "counting on" strategy for solving addition problems gives them the skills they need to be more efficient problem solvers. In "counting on," students figure out "how many" objects there are altogether by "counting on" from the number of objects in the first set, rather than counting all of the objects by starting at one. Let's see what we mean.

In this activity, the teacher uses counting bears to teach a small group of students how to use the "counting on" strategy. The teacher starts by counting a set of six bears on one "carpet" and then asking, "If I add one, two, on this carpet, how many do we have all together?" One student responds eight, and the teacher extends his mathematical thinking by elaborating on his answer. She models how to "count on" to solve an addition problem. "We know there's six on this carpet, so we're going to start with the next number: six, seven, eight!" The teacher extends mathematical thinking again when she asks students, "Do I always have to come back and start at the number one to count?"