7 Classroom Ideas for Building +/- Fact Fluency

Are your primary students now confident in counting through double digits and even showing a solid understanding of simple addition and subtraction? If so, then it’s time for your students to advance their mastery by building fact fluency.


Here’s a look at the number bonds ideas we have prepared for you. Be sure to use your own account to try these activites:


1. Sharing Candy

Our exploration of number bonds begins with concrete activities like this ‘Sharing Candy’ exercise. Students physically touch and drag the candies to illustrate different number combinations that can be made with 5 candies:



This activity is available for number sums 5 through 9 (see Plus & Minus to 5, exercise 14; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 1), exercises 6, 14; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 2), exercises 1, 9).


2. Number Bonds with Cubes

From there, students begin to relate concrete objects to equations. In this exercise, students see all of the number bonds of 5 and use a keypad to complete the related equations:



This activity is available for number sums 5 through 10 (see Plus & Minus to 5, exercise 15; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 1), exercises 7, 15; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 2), exercises 2, 10, 17).


Bonus: To make the most of students’ understanding of fact families, each of these exercises is followed by the companion exercise for subtraction:



3. Pack the Truck

Our ‘Pack the Truck’ exercise will have students thinking they are playing a game when they are actually building fact fluency! The first task has students physically dragging the boxes, based on number composition, to pack the truck to the top:



In the second task, students type the number (height) of the box that completes the number bond:



This activity is available for number sums 5 through 10 (see Plus & Minus to 5, exercise 17; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 1), exercises 9, 17; Plus & Minus to 10 (Part 2), exercises 4, 12, 19).


4. Berry Truck

This fun number bond activity requires students to connect groups of objects to create totals of 10:




It builds on previous counting exercises (see Numeration 1-10) and prepares students to succeed in future topics that rely on place value understanding (see Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 1), exercise 9).


5. Buying Treats

Animation takes number bonds to the next level in this fact-based exercise! Here, students choose two out of three numbers to combine for a given sum. Their efforts are rewarded with colorful, tempting treats:



This activity is available for number sums 10 through 20 (see Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 1), exercise 6; Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 2), exercises 4, 21).


6. UFO

Your students will be begging to practice number bonds once they discover the UFO exercise! In it, students must pair up numbers from among ten options in order to reach a given total. Correct answers are beamed into the UFO through engaging animation:



This activity is available for number sums 10 through 19 (see Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 1), exercise 12; Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 2), exercises 9, 16, 20).


7. Finish the Tower

This clever exercise illustrates how students can use number composition to find missing addends:


(see Plus & Minus 11-20 (Part 2), exercise 10) 


Memorizing basic addition and subtraction facts takes time and repetition. Happy Numbers helps teachers by addressing your existing content and standard needs in a simple, effective way. It’s great for centers or individual remediation. Students will enjoy the game-like instruction while they gain a deeper understanding of number bonds and learn to recognize basic facts with automaticity. Use your interactive whiteboard to display Happy Numbers for whole-group instruction as well!


There are plenty of cute, crafty ideas out there for reinforcing number bonds, but do they really make the best use of student time? These activities are just as eye-catching and engaging as any craft, but deliver much more math practice for the time invested.


So go ahead and do a few of the cute crafts that you can hang outside your classroom door, but when you need a quick, easy, and targeted resource for practicing number bonds, visit HappyNumbers.com!


Happy Numbers Team