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Number Games and Crayon Puzzles

February 8, 2023 | Becca Brasser


Students solve missing addend and subtrahend problems and solve story problems with new variables.

The first grade is working through a new unit in mathematics called Number Games and Crayon Problems. We are working on adding and subtracting numbers to 20 in many different contexts, with the goal being fluency with addition and subtraction problems within 10. Students encounter new variables within story problems, and think about the notation mathematicians use for addition and subtraction. 

On math workshop days, children are invited to choose among a variety of games that help them meet the goal of building fluency with addition and subtraction facts while also learning how to think strategically and flexibly about solving math problems. Embedded in each game are opportunities to make it more challenging and complex for students who have already memorized math facts.

Games used in this unit are Tens Go Fish (a game that helps students to consider multiple ways to make a given sum), Ten Plus (a game about regrouping to find equivalent expressions), Five in a Row Subtraction, Five in a Row with Three Cards, and Dot Addition (another game about finding multiple combinations to make the same sum).

Becca Brasser

Teacher, Grade 1

Becca Brasser has been teaching first grade at Mustard Seed School since 2002. She’s passionate about teaching children to read, write, experiment, and take risks as they explore the world around them. Her own studies (including a Master of Arts degree from New Jersey City University) have given her expertise and experience in the area of literacy education.

Ms. Brasser especially enjoys taking her students on field trips all over the New York Metropolitan area, traveling on foot, subway, bus, commuter train, and ferry. Some favorite trips: the Hudson Hike, the New York Transit Museum, and the Central Park Zoo to study penguins.

Although she lives in the city, Ms. Brasser loves escaping to nature and finding it in her everyday life as well. She loves to explore rivers and lakes, woods and mountains with her husband Matt, their daughter, Annika, and son, Theo.

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