Yum Yum for Sum Sums

What's That Number in My Soup?

Yum Yum for Sum Sums

First-grade teacher Roberta Lehman had the challenge to help her first graders to learn about solving math addition problems.  The students were having difficulty with finding the missing number in simple equations like 3 + __ = 6.  So, she dreamed up a visual aid that would work with objects that the first graders could use for counting.

Mrs. Lehman said “A lot of times we have equations where the students can’t figure out what number is needed to be added to get the total. We made these placemats called ‘Yum Yum for Sum Sums.’  Printed on the placemats are two bowls of soup, one on the left, and the other on the right.  So, for example, if the equation given is blank plus four equals seven, and they can’t figure out the missing number, they can use the placemats.  They know the total, but they don’t know the missing number.  The students start by putting the beginning number of objects in the bowl of soup on the left.  Then, they continue counting by putting more objects into their bowl of soup of the right until they get to the total number for the problem.  Then, they look in the bowl of soup on the right, and they know the answer for the missing number.”

Wen demonstrated using “Yum Yum for Sum Sums.”  The equation for Wen to solve as 4 + __ = 6.  “I have an equation four plus something is six.  I put in four.  Four and then two more to get six.”

Paul showed using the same equation.  “I am putting four in my left bowl.  Then, I counted up by ones to get to six.  One, two, three, four in my left.  Five, six.”

Mrs. Lehman asked Paul, “And, your answer is in which bowl?”

“Right bowl.”

“So, what is your answer?”

“Two.” said Paul.

“So, how do you know you have six?  Because . . .”

Paul happily said, “Four plus two equals six.”

Joel also showed his counting skills with a different equation, 3 + __ = 6.  He put three objects in the left bowl.  Then, he kept counting up to six.  That left him with three new objects in the right bowl, his answer bowl.

Jacob easily did the same.  “One, two, three, four, five, six.”  When Jacob was asked where his answer was, he said it was in the right bowl.  Then, when asked how many objects were in the right bowl, he correctly answered, “Three.”

Mrs. Lehman says it works every time!  Great job, first graders!!


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