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Language and Communication Add or take away one from a number of objects  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


In practical situations pupils can add one to or take one away from a number of objects

Early years skill:Numbers
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Number and Algebra
P-scales/Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP48
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Add one to any given number between 1 and 10 - to understand that adding one means 'more'

2 small containers

Sets of bricks, compare bears, pens, lego etc

Number lines 1 - 10 that you can write on.

1. Count say 4 items into a container and 4 into a similar container. Line them up, build them into towers , let the child discover that these are the same amount.

2. Tell the child "Put one more here." Go through the counting and comparing routine again and label the group with the extra item as " more here...this makes 5" etc.

3. Use two number lines. Match the number of items in each container with its position on the number lines. Say ' are 4 and here are 4.....they are the same. They are both 4."

Tell the child "Add one more to this container".

4. Compare the two containers with the two number lines. Say "Look............this is 4" and mark 4 on the number line, and "Look .......this is 5" and mark 5 on the other number line. Compare the number lines , point out that one number line has "more" than the other.

5. Go through this process with different numbers. You want the child to be able to associate the real objects with the more abstract concept of a number on the number line.

6. Extend the concept to everyday life e.g. does the child want one more spoon of yoghurt?, or one more colouring pen in his/her bag?

You need to make the learning very visible. Start working with objects and move onto working with worksheets when the child is performing well with objects.

Allow the child to explore materials and give time to respond to questions.

Give lots of opportunity for repetition

Work in short bursts and give many small rewards throughout the learning time.

One aim is to help the child understand that real objects can be represented abstractly with numbers.

To take away one from numbers between 1 - 10 - to understand that taking away one means 'less.'

Materials as above

Follow the above routines but take an item away from the containers and on the number line.

From a given number find the number before

Miniature people

Groups of cars or trains

Books with pictures of lines of people or cars or trains e.g Richard Scarry's transport books.


Blu Tack

Home made coloured dots (red and blue)

1. Make a row of miniature figures or cars and identify one person/car as the starting point - the car/person you are looking at. Put a sticker on the car/person before this starting point and say "Look..........this is the starting point and this car/person is before the starting point."

2. At line up time point out the child before your child.

3. Can you find pictures of traffic jams or lines of people or trains and identify a starting point and then point out the one before etc. Maybe put a red dot on the "before" item using Blu Tack.

4. Identify a number of different "starting points" so that the child realises that any point or train or person can be a starting point.

Draw out a days of the week chart in a straight line and identify one day as the starting point (probably today) and then put a red dot on the day before today.

5. Write out a number line and identify one number as the starting point - draw a circle round it, Help the child identify the number before the starting point as the one "before."

6. Can the child put a red dot on the number before a number you identify as the starting point on a number line.

7. You can practice this with the alphabet as well.

8. Make the child the teacher. Get him/her to identify a starting point and you can be the one to put a red dot on the number before the starting point . You can get this right or wrong!

From a given number find the number after

Miniature people

Groups of cars or trains

Books with pictures of lines of people or cars or trains e.g Richard Scarry's transport books.


Blu Tack

Home made coloured dots (red and blue).

Go through the routines as above but focus on "after" Use a blue dot to identify objects and numbers etc that come "after".

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