Teaching young students how to add can be a daunting task for many teachers. However, by using the counting on strategy, first grade students can learn to count and add in a fun and interactive way.

Counting on in math is an easy but wonderful mental math strategy and this is why we must make sure to show students how to use it. This strategy is the easiest for students to learn and master and most even learn it on their on. It is one that just comes naturally.

In this blog post, we will discuss seven interactive ideas and activities that teachers can use to practice counting on with their first grade students in addition problems. These activities are easy to implement and will make counting and adding fun for your students.

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## What Does The Counting On Strategy Mean

The counting on strategy is a method of counting that starts with the largest number and counts up to the desired number. This method is especially beneficial for students who are just learning to count and add, as it helps them to understand the concept of counting and how numbers relate to each other.

An example would be 7 + 4. Start with 7 and count on 4 more. 7 – 8, 9, 10, 11.

Usually when using the counting on strategy in math, students use their fingers to help while also counting in their heads. This is completely alright for them to do. This is a great way for them to keep track of how many they have counted up.

## Using Manipulatives to Teach The Counting on Strategy

I’m sure you’ve heard of the CRA method. If not, this stands for concreate, representational, and abstract. The concrete stage is when students need to use objects or manipulatives to help them solve problems.

As students first learn to count on in math they need to actually move some type of manipulative as they count so that they visually see what is happening.

Take a look at this photo to see this in action.

## Activities For The Counting On Strategy In Math

Students have to be able to count on from given numbers in order to be successful at this skill. Here are a few ideas you can use to help students practice this important strategy and have fun at the same time.

### Counting On Strategy Dance Party

Divide the class into groups and assign each group a number. Play music and have the students dance in their groups. When the music stops, call out an addition problem and have the students count on from the larger number to find the answer. The group that is answering is the group that matches the number of the first addend in the addition problem called.

For example, when the music stops the teacher might say the addition problem “4 + 3” and the group assigned the number 4 would start counting on 3, saying “5, 6, 7.” If the group gets it correct they earn a point.

### The Counting On Strategy Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course in the classroom or school yard with different stations. At each station, have a different addition problem written. Students must complete the obstacle course by solving each problem by counting on from the larger number while performing the action listed at that station. The first student to complete the course wins. It might be a good idea to create a recording sheet for this activity.

Here are some easy examples of obstacles you could have students perform as they count on:

- Doing a set of squats while counting on
- Doing a set of jumping jacks while counting on
- Doing a set of arm circles while counting on
- Doing a set of leg lifts while counting on
- Standing on one leg while counting on
- Doing a set of toe touches while counting on

### Counting On Strategy Simon Says

Play a game of counting on Simon says. The teacher will give an addition problem, and students must count on from the larger number to find the answer. If the teacher says “Simon says count on,” the students must count on, but if the teacher does not say “Simon says” before the problem, the students must remain still.

For example, the teacher might say “Simon says count on: 6 + 4” and the students would count on saying “7, 8, 9, 10” and the correct answer is “10”.

### The Counting On Strategy Scavenger Hunt

Create a scavenger hunt in the classroom by hiding objects around the room. Write addition problems on index cards and place them with the objects. Have students work in groups to find the objects and solve the addition problems by counting on from the larger number. Once they have found all the objects and solved all the problems, they can collect a prize.

You might use school supplies as the objects or just places in the room and then create clues on cards for students such as “This is what I use to hold a stack of papers together” (paper clip) or “This is where we go when we are ready to walk out in the hall” (door), “This is where we go when we have dirty hands” (sink). When they get to the correct spot the card with the addition fact is there for them to solve.

### The Counting On Strategy Ball Toss

My students love this game to practice the counting on strategy. Divide the class into teams and have each team line up at one end of the room. At the other end of the room, have a basket of addition problems written on index cards. Have students take turns tossing a ball to a partner and counting on from the larger number to find the solution to an addition problem. Once they have the answer, they throw the ball back to their partner who must then grab the next problem and solve it. The team that completes all the problems first wins.

For example, in a counting on ball toss, one student might throw the ball and the other student catches the ball, draws an addition problem from the basket and reads it out loud “9 + 2.” Next the student counts on from 9 saying “10, 11” and reaches the correct answer “11” before throwing the ball back to their partner.

### Counting On Strategy Tic Tac Toe

Create a counting on tic tac toe game by drawing a tic tac toe grid on the board or on a large piece of paper. Write addition problems on index cards and place them in a container. Have students take turns drawing a problem from the container and solving it by counting on from the larger number. They then place their marker on the corresponding number on the board. The first student to get three in a row wins. Have students check each other as they count on.

### Counting On Strategy Circles

Students will stand in a circle and you give an addition sentence. Students must count on to add by counting around the circle until they reach the sum. once the sum is met, that student must say the number and then “is the sum.” See the example below.

You can choose to play where students stand to count and sit down if they miss a number or you can allow them to stay in the game.

So, if you say 7 + 9, you will call on the student that is to start. That student says 8, the next student says 9, the next 10 and so on. When it gets to the student that says 16 (the answer), that student will say 16 is the sum.

## The Counting On Strategy Summed Up

The counting on strategy is an effective and engaging way to teach first grade students how to count and add. The seven interactive activities discussed in this blog post, such as the Counting On Strategy Dance Party, Counting On Strategy Obstacle Course, and others, can help students practice this important skill and make counting and adding fun.

These activities for the counting on strategy use manipulatives, movement, and play to make learning math engaging and enjoyable. Implementing these ideas in the classroom will give students a strong foundation in counting and adding, helping them to become confident and successful in math.

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[…] help your students master mental math strategies for addition. Some strategies are simple, like the counting on strategy, while others are more difficult. In this post, we’ll go over different ways you can help […]