Commutative Property

The commutative property is commonly called the flip-flop strategy for students.  It refers to the idea that you can flip the two addends, and still get the same total.

3 + 5 is the same as 5 + 3

A variety of tools are used to show this property.  Snap cubes can show an addition fact (e.g., 5 red cubes snapped to 3 blue), which can then be flipped over.  The total stays the same, but the order has changed.


Bead Counters

This is a page of directions for making bead counters where the beads won’t slide around the string. Addition facts can be shown on the beads, and then flipped over to show the commutative fact with the same number of beads.


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