This easy-to-make Math Counts Pasta Counter is the perfect manipulative for teaching children to add numbers zero through ten to get a sum of ten. This is an important concept for all children to learn since it teaches them that each pasta piece represents one number- a skill all children are expected to learn in kindergarten! After creating this craft from simple materials and easy instructions, children and their parents will enjoy exploring the world of addition!

What you'll need:

  • 5 pieces of penne pasta
  • Scotch tape
  • Tacky glue
  • colored marker
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • 2 large pieces of cardstock
  • 1 small pieces of cardstock
  • 1 clothespin
  • 15 inches of yarn or string
How to make your pasta counter:
  • Take one large cardstock and turn it horizontally. Write "Math Counts!" on the top of the large piece of cardstock. Write the numbers one through ten along the bottom of the cardstock. Write "What is the answer?" along the bottom of the cardstock next to the number ten. Punch one hole in the center of either side. An alternative is to write "What are the addends?" If you choose to write addends, you can explain to your child that these are the two or more numbers added together to get the sum or the answer! (see photos).
  • Thread the yarn or string through the left hole punch and secure to the back with scotch tape.
  • Cut the five penne pasta pieces in half and thread them onto the yarn. Thread the end of the yarn through the hole on the right side of the cardstock and secure with scotch tape.
  • Place glue on the edges of the back of the cardstock and place the other piece of cardstock on top. Press down firmly and allow glue to dry. (see photos)
  • Meanwhile, cut a "+" out of the small piece of cardstock and glue it to the end of the clothespin that opens up. Allow the glue to dry. (see photos)
  • Once the glue is dry, your pasta counter is ready for use. To use, place the addition sign clothespin somewhere on the yarn, in between the pasta. Have your child count up the number of pasta to the left of the clothespin and add it to the number of pasta on the right side of the clothespin. If you want to practice addition with sums other than ten, all you need is another clothespin. Simply push the unwanted pasta to the side and use the second clothespin as a "wall." For example, if you wanted to add three plus four, your pasta counter would have three pasta pushed to the side, followed by the second clothespin (without the addition sign), followed by the three pasta pieces, then the addition clothespin followed by the final four pasta pieces.
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