A ten frame is possibly the most useful resource for teaching early mathematics, as an excellent way to show students visual models for all numbers to 10 and beyond.
To become fluent with numbers, students need to develop “mental models” for numbers, initially up to 10, then to 20, to 100, and beyond.
Modern methods for teaching mathematics aim to develop in students the abilities to think mathematically, to be able to process mathematical information and questions by considering the sizes of the numbers, the relationships between them, and so on.
A ten frame provides a way for a child to recognise an arrangement of objects up to 10 without counting, what we call “subitization”. Once these patterns are recognized, students can build on this the knowledge of number facts up to 10. Later, a second ten frame can be added to extend the facts to 20.
For a young child who is familiar with numbers to 20 using ten frames, one useful extension is simply to increase the speed of recognition of the numbers, by using flash cards or similar to improve how quickly the child can recognize the arrangements.
Some multiplication strategies are easily shown using multiple ten frames. For example, putting out, say, 6 ten frames each with 9 counters can help a child see that 6 x 9 is equal to 60 – 6, or 54.