top of page

Lesson Plan Template








Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Addition word problems up to 10 (1)

Aligned Standards



  • Part-Part-Whole
  • Sum
  • In All
  • Add

Build Cube Chains for Adding (sums up to 10)

Prerequisite Skill

Materials and Preparation

  • Guided Practice Worksheet: Build Cube Chains for Adding (sums up to 10)

  • Independent Practice Worksheet: Build Cube Chains for Adding (sums up to 10)

  • Cube manipulatives or blocks (10 per student)
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Word problem story cards

Learning Objectives

Students will understand the concept of "part-part-whole" by representing addition scenarios with connecting cubes, counting and finding the sum. 

Introduction (5 minutes)

Start the lesson by engaging the students with a question: "Have you ever combined two groups of toys, snacks, or crayons together? What happened?" Discuss the idea of putting two groups together to form a new whole. Introduce the vocabulary they'll use during the lesson, specifically "in all" (total/whole), "part," and "add." Make sure students understand that today’s activity will explore this concept using cubes to solve simple addition problems up to 10.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling (10 minutes)

Write a sample word problem on chart paper and read it aloud to the class: "Sam is folding laundry. He folds 8 pairs of pants and 1 shirt. How many items did Sam fold in all?" Demonstrate solving this problem step-by-step by representing each part using cubes. Use 8 cubes to represent the pants and 1 cube to represent the shirt. Combine the two groups to show how the whole (total) is formed. Count all the cubes to find the sum, then state the final answer, "Sam folded 9 items in all." Make sure students follow along with this demonstration.

Guided Practice (5 minutes)

During guided practice, distribute the guided worksheets that include part-part-whole graphic organizers designed for counting objects. Hand out word problem cards with various scenarios involving sums up to 10 to each pair of students. Students will use the graphic organizers to visually separate and then combine the parts (objects represented by cubes) to understand how they form a whole. This visual aid helps reinforce the concept of addition as combining parts to form a new total. Walk around the classroom to provide support, ensuring that each student correctly uses the graphic organizer to count and combine objects. Correct any misunderstandings and clarify the process as necessary.

Independent Practice (10 minutes)

Once students have practiced collaboratively, distribute the Independent Practice worksheet. Instruct students to solve the word problems on the worksheet independently, using the cubes to build chains that represent the problems. Encourage them to draw or write equations that reflect their solutions. Monitor their progress and offer feedback where needed.



To support students who struggle with reading, read the word problems aloud to help them comprehend the scenarios. Pair struggling readers with a partner who can assist in understanding the problem. Additionally, provide simpler word problems and visual aids like number lines or counting charts. This approach ensures all students can fully participate, regardless of reading level. Encourage students to focus on identifying the parts and using the graphic organizers to find the whole.


Challenge advanced students by creating addition problems that require sums beyond 10. Alternatively, introduce subtraction by having them take away cubes to solve problems. Encourage them to write their word problems and solve them independently.

Assessment (5 minutes)

Evaluate students' Guided and Independent Practice worksheets for correct answers and accurate cube chain representation. Observe how they use cube chains to solve problems, and ask clarifying questions to ensure comprehension.

Review and closing (5 minutes)

Review the vocabulary terms used throughout the lesson, reinforcing the concept of "part-part-whole." Emphasize the importance of combining two parts to form a new whole. Provide positive feedback on students’ progress and encourage them to keep practicing at home.


Students often miscount or forget to include one of the parts when building their cube chains. Another common misconception is misunderstanding the "whole" as just a part of the total if they don't combine all sets.

bottom of page