What is a five frame? Why do we use five frames?
A five frame is a 1×5 array. Black dots inside the array represent a quantity. Why use five frames? Developing a solid understanding of “5” is crucial in the road to developing good number sense. Being able to understand numbers in relation to five, (and later 10), is really important. For example, knowing that three is two away from five, six is one more than five or four is one less than five will help students develop a strong sense of number.
Your child will quickly catch on to five frames and after a while it will be time to move on to working with the ten frame.
Here are some ways to use five frames with your child to build your child’s understanding of five-ness.
Five Frame Tell About:
What you need…
– a blank five frame
– a set of 10 counters (use any small object around the house)
How to play…
Have your child show you how they would make the number three on the blank five frame. Have a discussion with your child about what they are seeing. For example you could ask questions like “How many blank squares are there?” and “How many away from five are you?”. Have them make a different number and continue engaging them in this type of discussion. Always refer to five as being the important benchmark when phrasing your questions. Have your child make numbers that are greater than five. Ask similar questions like “How many more than five do you have?” and “How many would be have to take away to have five?”.
This game is from John A. Van de Walle’s Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics – Grades K-3 page 45
For additional practice identifying numbers on the five frame try this YouTube video:
Also, you can have your child try this five frame flash game. Have them say the number before it changes to the next number.
For additional practice, here is a simple five frame math game you can play online in English.