Activities for Teaching Doubles in Math

Close-up of addition problem written on chalkboard.
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Adding doubles, such as 3 + 3 = 6 or 9 + 9 = 18, is a skill that teachers are required to teach in first grade, according to Common Core standards. Most states in the United States have adopted Common Core, which is an educational initiative that requires students to master specific skills in English language arts and mathematics. To teach this concept well, teachers can use innovative teaching methods, such as charts and songs, to motivate their students to learn doubles facts.

1 Make a Doubles Chart

Visual charts can help students remember doubles facts more easily, especially if they tie abstract concepts with concrete objects. For example, you might write 1 + 1 next to a picture of two eyes; 2 + 2 next to a picture of an animal (two legs on each side) or a car (two wheels on each side); 3 + 3 next to a picture of an ant or ladybug (three legs on each side); 4 + 4 next to a picture of a spider, 5 + 5 next to a picture of two hands; 6 + 6 next to a picture of two half-cartons of eggs, each with six eggs; 7 + 7 next to a picture of two weeks from a calendar; 8 + 8 next to a picture of a box of sixteen crayons; 9 + 9 next to a picture of an 18-wheeler truck, and 10 + 10 next to a picture of two hands and two feet.

2 Read Stories About Doubles

Reading a book that involves doubles can give you plenty of raw material for doubles teaching options. For example, you could read the book, "Two of Everything," by Lily Toy Tong, in which a man and his wife find out that an ancient brass pot can create double of whatever goes into it. You'll be able to ask students questions like, "Let's say that the purse that fell into the brass pot had four coins in it. How many coins would the man have when he emptied out the two purses?" Alternatively, you could read "Double the Ducks" by Stuart J. Murphy or "Double Bubble Trouble" by Judy Bradbury, asking similar questions.

3 Double Recipes

A great way to teach kids that knowing doubles facts applies to real-life situations is to bake with them. Show them a basic recipe and tell them that you're going to double it so you'll have enough for everyone to share. As you measure each ingredient, remind them that you'll need to double it, and then ask them to tell you how much you'll need to add. Kids will love to eat the results of their successful doubling project.

4 Play Doubles Bingo

This version of Bingo can help your students review their doubles facts. You will need a deck of cards from which you have removed all the face cards, such as the King, Queen, and Jack, and you will also need blank Bingo sheets and small objects for markers, such as pennies or buttons. Fill in the numbers from 2 to 20 in a random order on the Bingo sheets and give one board for each student. To play, pick a playing card from the deck and tell your students to place a marker on a number whose value is double that of the face card. In other words, if you pick a 4, students should put a marker on an 8 on their Bingo board. The first person to get a row or to fill up a board wins.

Keren (Carrie) Perles is a freelance writer with professional experience in publishing since 2004. Perles has written, edited and developed curriculum for educational publishers. She writes online articles about various topics, mostly about education or parenting, and has been a mother, teacher and tutor for various ages. Perles holds a Bachelor of Arts in English communications from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.