Part Part Whole

Part part whole relationships (PPW) involve seeing numbers as being made of two or more parts.  Many researchers have said this is the major conceptual achievement of the early years.  A strong understanding of PPW has been shown to increase understanding of subsequent work with place value, number concepts, and word problems.

After students learn to count, they need to work on part part whole relationships before beginning addition and subtraction.

As in the other number relationships, students use counting as a scaffold to form their ideas about PPW.

When students are exploring parts of a number, they need to work with one number in a variety of ways, with a variety of concrete materials.  We also want to use a multisensory approach, which requires visualization and begins to move students away from relying on their counting skills.

Screened tasks are a key element when working with part part whole relationships.

Part Part Whole Mat / Frame PartPartWholeMat

Part Part Whole Machine

This is a great activity for early part part whole exploration, in that it’s very concrete.  Worth the time to make the machines (directions included).

Shake and Spill

From the Guide to Effective Instruction, this activity has students shake two sided counters to generate parts fo a given whole.

Snowman Math

In this game, players take turns making combinations of 5 on a snowman game board.  Contributed by Nancy Roe.

Multisensory Part Part Whole Activities

Four activities for using touch and sound instead of visual cues for PPW.   These require the students to make mental representations of the relationships.


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