What You Should Know About Ten Frames2022-04-06T13:37:18-04:00
using ten frames

Posted by: Alesia Netuk

Updated: April 6th, 2022

What You Should Know About Ten Frames

What You Should Know About Ten Frames

A ten frame is an instructional tool used to support learning in math. They provide children with opportunities to learn about numbers both visually and kinesthetically. Ten frames help children develop number sense, which is an understanding of numbers and their relationships.

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What is a Ten Frame?

A ten frame is a rectangle divided into ten equal squares. There are five squares across the top and five squares across the bottom. Counters or other markers are placed in the squares to represent numbers of ten or less.

For example, placing three counters in the top row represents the number three. Placing five counters in the top row and two in the bottom row represents the number seven.  

Ten frames can be made simply from paper or may be printed on a heavier cardstock and laminated for durability. Various items can be used to represent numbers, such as plastic chips, counters, or gems. Ten frames can also be used on electronic devices such as tablets and laptops.

Applications allow children to move virtual counters into the ten frame boxes using a touch screen, mouse, or tracking pad.  

You can also make large ten frames on the floor. Just use tape to create your ten frames then provide children with objects such as frisbees or toys to use as counters.

using ten frames

Why are Ten Frames Important?

Ten frames provide children with a visual representation of numbers and their relationships beyond just the written numerals. Children may learn that five is represented by the numeral “5,” but this does not give them any information about what five truly means. Using a ten frame allows them to see that the number five consists of five items. It assigns value to the number.

Ten frames are also important for children who benefit from using concrete materials to learn. Using manipulatives can be very valuable when teaching math concepts. The movement of counters in and out of ten frames can help children understand these concepts. Manipulatives are often an effective precursor to using numbers.

Using Ten Frames for Counting

Ten frames are versatile tools that can be used to teach a range of mathematical concepts. One of their simple uses is to teach children how to count to ten. In addition to learning rote numbers, children can attach meaning to each number by seeing what it represents. For example, placing seven counters in the boxes allows children to see what “seven” looks like. The ten frame can also be used to recognize that eight is more than seven, and six is less than seven.

Using ten frames to teach number sense: