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 them to advance their mastery by building fact fluency. Our approach to fact fluency development through conceptual understanding optimizes the way students handle these basic procedures. A thorough grasp of numerical transformations provides a solid basis for diving deeper into math.


Here’s a look at the number bonds ideas we have prepared for you. Create a personal account to try Happy Numbers on your device!


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 Kindergarten Module 4 — Topic A: exercises bdgj; Topic B: exercises bf; Topic E: exercise b).


2. Number Bonds with Cubes

From there, students begin to relate concrete objects to equations. In the exercise below, students see all of the number bonds of 6 one by one and use a keypad to complete the related equations


Cubes 1

This activity is available for number sums 5 through 10 (see Kindergarten Module 4 – Topic B: exercises c, k).


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


Cubes 4 (2)


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 Kindergarten Module 4 – Topic B: exercises dhl; Topic E, exercise g).


4. Berry Truck

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




After students explore addition and subtraction (see Kindergarten Module 4 – Topics C and D), this exercise returns them to work with number bonds and reminds them about the part–part–whole relationships that underlie these operations.


5. Buying Treats

Animation takes number bonds to the next level in this fact-based exercise! Here, students choose two out of three or four 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 Grade 1 Module 1 – Topic F, exercise p).


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 Grade 1 Module 1 – Topic B, exercise u).


7. Finish the Tower

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


Tower 2

(see Grade 1 Module 2 – Topic A: exercises ad).


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? Happy Numbers 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