Tricky Teens

Those teen numbers are always so tricky! Today we took a closer look at them. First students watched a music video:

I asked students to make the number 10 with their fingers. Easy. Then I asked them to make the number 11. Looks of confusion… student said, “But I don’t have 11 fingers!” I asked how they could solve that problem? After lots of chatter, a student excitedly said, “How about I use ten fingers and my friend uses one finger!” Aha!


I quickly paired students up and had them choose a teen number card. Their activity was to make the number on the card using their ten fingers and how ever many of their partners fingers as were needed. Then we switched roles. Though this lesson is about recognizing teen numbers, it quickly morphed into an introduction to place value!

We then built teen numbers using unifix cubes, transferring the knowledge that each teen number has one group of ten and some ones….TRICKY!! But physically building the numbers is always super helpful.



We finished the lesson with a quick Math Journal activity that compiled all the skills introduced into one worksheet.