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Sums Investigation

This task comes from a book in a series of three books by Math Solutions, called Math for All: Differentiating Instruction. This is another investigation where students can practice addition and think about combinatorics – a nice way of organizing counting. The task ends with asking students to write about their thinking.

Task Instructions

Getting Started

  • Write the numbers 12, 15, 19, and 24 on blank cards.
  • Put your number cards in a bag and shake it.

To Play

  • Pull out two cards. Record the numbers and their sum.
  • Return the cards to the bag and take another turn.
  • Do this a few times.

Stop and Think

  • How many different sums do you get when you pull two of these number cards from the bag?
  • How do you know you have all the possibilities?

What Did You Learn?

  • Write about your thinking.


From Math for All: Differentiating Instruction, Grades K-2 by Linda Dacey & Rebeka Eston Salemi (Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions), pp. 210. Reprinted with permission.