In Addition and Subtraction, Classroom Resources, Number and Algebra

The focus of this activity is to discover if students can represent numbers, without the need to count from 1. If students ‘trust the count’ from here they will be able to use strategies to combine collections. If students do not ‘trust the count’ they may be able to combine two collections by counting by ones, but this is a slow and inefficient strategy.


  • Subitise small collections of objects and explain reasoning
  • Count small collections of objects
  • Use materials (or fingers) to represent quantities
  • Partition numbers into smaller amounts and explain reasoning, e.g. 5 and 1 makes 6
  • Combine two collections by counting on
  • Recall some number facts
  • Use materials (or fingers) to represent known facts
  • Listen and create addition stories to combine two small collections
  • Use materials (or fingers) to model addition stories


Curriculum Connections
  • Connect number names, numerals and quantities, including zero, initially up to 10 and then beyond(VCMNA070)
  • Subitise small collections of objects (VCMNA071)
  • Represent practical situations to model addition and subtraction (VCMNA073)


At the end of this lesson students should be able to answer the following questions
  • Show me 5 (insert other number)
  • How do you know you have 5?
  • Is there another way to show 5?
  • What is addition?
  • How can we combine two collections?
  • What is the story telling us?
  • How do we find out how many we have in total?
  • Can you explain how you found the solution?
  • How can we record our solution? Can we record it in another way?


For more information, please download the attached lesson plan.

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