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“Mitten Math” illustrates the Commutative Property of Addition





Title – Mitten Math
By – Corben Washington
Primary Subject – Math
Grade Level – 1


    This is a Commutative Property of Addition lesson. Following this lesson, students should be able to understand that a + b = b + a, or at least that 2 + 3 = 5 and so does 3 + 2, the order of the addends does not matter.

Learning Objectives:

    The student will be able to:

    1. Add simple numbers
    2. Explain how flip-flopping the addends yields the same sum
    3. Match the sums with the correct addition sentences


    1. White Paper
    2. Pencil
    3. Scissors
    4. Crayons or colored pencils
    5. Mitten or mitten template
    6. Simple addition worksheet
    7. Math manipulatives (optional)
    8. Thinking Cap

Pre-Activity Preparation:

  • Create a worksheet with simple addition problems, one for each student. Half of the problems should be the same as the other half, only with their addends reversed. Mix up the matching pairs so they are not right next to each other.
  • Pick the quietest student to pass out the worksheet to each of their classmates.

Motivation/Establishing Set:

  • ” Okay, now I know everyone came to school to have a good time and learn. I hope everybody has a good attitude, because we are about to have some educational fun. The name of the activity is MITTEN MATH”

Learning Experiences/Presentation/ Procedure:

  1. Start out with the quote that is listed above in establishing sets.
  2. Review a couple addition facts to make sure the kids remember what the learned before.
  3. Practice a couple of different simple addition problems.
  4. If the kids are having problems with them, bring out the manipulatives, so you can move on with the lesson.
  5. Give kids a mitten to trace and cut out for later in the lesson.
  6. Assign each student a mitten problem on the worksheet.
  7. Ask them to write the problem with the answer on their mitten. (Optional: If you want to be extra clever, arrange it so that the a + b problems are written on a mitten with the thumb on the right and the b + a problems are written on a the other side creating a left-thumbed mitten. You can do this the easiest by going from desk to desk, turning over the appropriate mittens.)
  8. Have them color their mitten.
  9. When they are completely finished, have them find the person that has the mate to their mitten. All three numbers have to match. At first they will discover that some people may have the same answer, but the problem doesn’t match. Then they will discover that they have found a match, and will ask if the order matters!
  10. Once they are done, they can sit down and visit with their partner until eveyone has finished.


  • Recap what they have learned and ask them how they enjoyed the lesson.

E-Mail Corben Washington !

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