Counting is a useful strategy for adding amounts up to 3. Students can be asked to count “silently” in their heads to find the result.
Recommended resources for teaching this strategy are ten frames and number lines. Make sure that students are developing mental fluency, and are gradually depending less and less on the physical resources over time.
Counting is a basic, fundamental process in mathematics, and perhaps the earliest math skill which children learn.
But if we all just used counting to figure out problems, it would be far, far too slow.
When should students count, and when should they use some other approach? Basically, counting on by up to 3 is fine; after that, we’ll be looking for another strategy.
Children won’t figure that out for themselves, so we’ll need to be alert to over-using counting.
There are two resources we recommend to support students’ thinking with these addition questions: ten frames and number lines. Watch the video for my advice on how to use these powerful yet simple resources effectively.
Once students have mastered these facts, they can be challenged to apply the same thinking and the same strategy to similar questions with larger numbers, such as: