Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fishing for Tens

Beth Malone
Orange County Schools


Students discover how to make ten while engaged in a card game that encourages mathematical thinking.


The student solves basic addition facts using concrete objects and thinking strategies, such as count on, count back, doubles, doubles plus one, and make ten.


- Number cards 1-9 (four sets) per group.
- Handout for recording pairs made, see Associated File
- Labels for recording observations (optional)


1. Gather or make number cards 1-9 (four sets per group). Playing cards with everything removed except the numeral cards and the aces work well, substitute the ace for the one (one deck per group).
2. Copy Make Ten Worksheet (one per child), Associated File.
3. Preprint labels or write out labels with students' names and the date on them to be used during observation. (optional)


1. Begin the lesson by having the students brainstorm and list pairs of numbers that make ten on the chalk/whiteboard.

2. After brainstorming all of the pairs, gather students to the carpet area and introduce using the cards to play Tens Go Fish.

3. Explain to the class that you play Tens Go Fish, Just like regular Go Fish, except instead of making matches, you are making pairs that equal 10.

4. Make yourself player one and the students player two. Deal out two piles of cards and begin the game with yourself. Play through a few hands and check for understanding of the game.

5. Demonstrate how to record their pairs on the record sheet. Let students know that you will be using this record sheet along with observation to evaluate their understanding of Tens Go Fish.

6. After students have been introduced to the game, Tens Go Fish and the recording process, group them and provide each group with a set of cards. Allow each group to go off and begin playing on their own.

7. As students play the game walk around and observe them. See the Assessment section for specific behaviors/skills to look for.

8. You can use preprinted labels with the date and each student's name on them, gradebooks, or a checklist to record observations. This helps ensure that you observe every child. It may take two to three days to get adequate observations on each child.

9. After student have mastered how to play the game and record the pairs, the game can then become part of choice time.


Observe students as they play Tens Go Fish in groups of three and four.
Things to look for while observing:
a. Are they able to make tens pairs?
b. Can they count on from the first number to make ten?
c. Can they make a ten mentally?
d. Can they record their pairs?

Students list the pairs that they make while playing Tens Go Fish on the worksheet provided in the Associated File.

Students who have difficulty making tens will be given further instruction and an opportunity to complete a new worksheet.

Attached Files

Make A Ten Worksheet     File Extension: pdf

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