Number combinations

  • Published on February 24, 2017

Mathematics is all around us. We use it every day for a wide range of purposes; from deciding on the sequence in which we dress ourselves, to calculating how much time we have available for an activity.

Number is just one component of mathematics but the ability to use it confidently and competently is essential to life in the 21st century; from managing one’s finances, to calculating time and distance, to knowing how many followers one has on social media.

The views that people hold of themselves as mathematicians, and their attitudes to mathematics in general, are formed early in life. It is important that we early childhood teachers provide children with mathematical experiences that are meaningful, engaging, and in context.

readilearn mathematics activities are designed to support you in doing so by providing a range of digital and printable resources that encourage mathematical thinking and discussion alongside hands-on experiences. It is important to provide children with a variety of learning contexts to encourage the development of “I can do it” attitude to number and maths.

Number combinations

A child’s ability to count is sometimes seen as an early indicator of ability with numbers. However, an understanding of number requires far more than just rote counting. Initially, one-to-one matching of object to number is essential.  As understanding grows, children must come to see that a number is more than just its name, more than just the numeral that represents it. They must understand the concept of “five” for example. That five refers to a number of objects that can be arranged in different ways, made of different components, and combined and manipulated in a variety of ways.

Understanding develops through manipulation of materials and discussion involving mathematical thinking. Learning addition facts, or any other facts, by rote without a firm understanding may simply lead to confusion and an “I don’t get it” attitude. The ability to calculate, and recall number facts, develops when children have a strong understanding of number.

New resources added to the readilearn mathematics collection this week are designed to encourage exploration and develop understanding of number, particularly number combinations. I hope you and your students enjoy them.

readilearn numbers

In addition to the new resources, I have some other readilearn numbers to share:

  • It is now six month since readilearn launched on 23 August 2016.
  • I have uploaded over 200 resources to the readilearn collection. That’s the equivalent of one for every school day in Australia.
  • About 10% of these are interactive.
  • Almost ¼ are free.
  • At least 2/3 have some literacy component (I am a strong proponent of literacy learning across the curriculum).
  • With an annual subscription of A$25, that’s just over 10 cents per resource or per school day. With new resources added nearly every week, I hope you consider that good value.

With readilearn resources, my goal is to lighten your work load by creating resources that you would create yourself, if you only had time.

Please let me know what you find useful, and if there is anything in particular you would like me to make to help you in your role supporting early childhood learners.

Ladybird spots cover

Ladybird Spots

This fun interactive resource encourages children to explore numbers up to ten. Children place spots on the ladybird’s wings to make all possible combinations for the target number. They are prompted to try again if an incorrect combination is made, and asked to make another when a correct response is submitted. Combinations can be recorded to ensure all possible combinations are found. The numbers eight, five, seven, and ten are explored in the resource which can be used to demonstrate how to explore numbers.

ladybird combinations cover

Ladybird combinations .

This printable resource provides children with opportunities for independent practice of concepts introduced in the interactive resource Ladybird Spots. Children use hands-on materials such as buttons or counters to place spots on the ladybird’s wings. Teaching notes include ideas for extension including turnarounds, missing addends, subtraction, subitisation, counting on, and self-monitoring.

Exploring number with ladybird spots

This printable worksheet can be used on its own or to follow-up the interactive resource Ladybird Spots. Children draw different combinations of spots on the ladybird’s wings to total the given number. Great for independent and maths group work.

These resources support the existing Ladybird numbers to ten resources, including:

One Lonely Ladybird

One Lonely Ladybird is an animated rhyming counting story ideal for supporting children who are learning to read the number words one to ten. With each verse one more ladybird joins in until there are ten ladybirds in all, playing together.

Ladybird number book

Ladybird number book supports use of the estory One Lonely Ladybird,  which counts the ladybirds from one to ten. Children count and colour the ladybirds, then cut out the pages and arrange them in order to make their own little counting book with the words from one to ten.

Ladybird number words

Children cut out the number words one to ten and match them to the correct number of ladybirds. This resource can be used independently or to support the estory One Lonely Ladybird.

Register now to begin using free resources, or Subscribe for access to all resources.

I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with some rhyming fun. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Thank you for reading.

Happy teaching and learning,



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    What a great overview! It is nice to see the readilearn numbers, and also to read your perspective on maths. It can be so easy to take things like maths for granted, so it’s nice to read your breakdown of how kids need to learn numbers.

    Thank you, Bec. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. I learned a lot about how kids learn about numbers from you and your big brother, and now the little ones. Children are wonderful teachers.

    Fantastic to find your site here, Norah, in addition to your self-titled one 🙂 It’s another place to come for learning and great writing <3

    Thank you for popping over, Christy. It’s lovely to see you here. 🙂

    Thank you, Charli. I’m rather fond of the cute little ladybirds too!

    Yes. Math is everywhere. We do use it every single day. (By the way, I love how you’ve used it to demonstrate what’s offered here at Readilearn.) 🙂 And, yes, it’s a great value.

    I especially like your idea of rote and concept. Mine were, I think, rote…at least my Aspie was. He was (and still is) a “number guy”. Numbers, number, numbers. Whether it’s conceptual, I don’t know. But they are black and white and comfortable for him.

    P.S. I’m not sure it this is new or I missed it but I do love the “i” being colored blue in “Readilearn”.

    Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about maths, and the attitudes of your boys to it. As you say, numbers are black and white. Maybe it’s that consistency that gives your son reassurance. If 3 + 3 = 6 today, it will be so every day. But friendships, people’s responses, and interpretations of situations, including rules, can change from day to day and therefore be totally confusing. Numbers are constant.
    I’m pleased you find the readilearn posts and resources useful. I appreciate your support.
    The readilearn “i” has always be blue in the logo. I’ve only just thought to make it blue in text. Thank you for noticing. 🙂

    You’re absolutely right. Numbers are constant, people’s actions and reactions are not.

    Yes, I love Readilearn’s posts (and love the blue in the text). 🙂

    You are such a lovely supporter. I really appreciate you, and your support, Sarah. Thank you. 🙂

    Excellent post, Norah. Math is everywhere and children enjoy learning in a hands-on way. I have been subitizing lately. The older children are ready and take great pride when they “get it”.

    I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, Jennie. The ability to subitise is very important. Automaticity makes doing mathematics much easier in the long run. The more hands-on experiences children have, the better their understanding will be.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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