'Composition' is all about understanding that one number can be made up from (composed from) two or more smaller numbers. Learning to ‘see’ a whole number and its parts at the same time is really important. Partitioning (splitting) numbers into other numbers and putting them back together again underpins understanding of addition and subtraction as inverse operations (opposite of each other).
- Part-whole - looking at what the whole thing is and what a part can look like. You can model this without numbers initially, e.g. the tree is the whole, the leaves and branches are the parts; the house is the whole, the rooms, bricks, roof are the parts; the body is the whole, the eyes are a part etc.
- Inverse operations - Children need opportunities to partition a number of things into two groups, and to recognise that those groups can be recombined to make the same total. Encourage children to say the whole number that the ‘parts’ make altogether.
- Knowing that number can be partitioned into different pairs of numbers.
- Knowing that number can be partitioned into more than two numbers.
- Knowing and learning their number bonds - knowing which pairs of numbers make a given number.
Things you can do at home to develop this area:
- Have 'number talks' when playing that allow them to discuss what they see e.g. a ladybird teddy with 5 spots - there are 5 spots altogether, I can see 4 and 1 more. Or explore what different numbers can look like e.g. 5 cars - there's 3 and 2, or there's 1 and 4 if we put them like this. Encourage them to make different arrangements of a set of toys e.g. 4 teddies, dolls, trucks, animals etc.
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