Rounding with Scaffolded Handout

This post shows an approach to teach rounding to the nearest 10 and is presented on a handout. Multiple strategies are used. This includes scaffolding, chunking with supports incrementally faded, and a visual.


A visual of the hand releasing the balloon draws upon prior knowledge and provides a mnemonic for when to round up. The scaffolding provides support to focus on fewer parts of the problem. The supports are faded to incrementally increase task demand placed on the student.


The first page has maximum scaffolding with the student focusing only on which tens to round to. In turn, an a different element is the focus (e.g., writing the 0s then rounding) and then the scaffolding is increasingly faded.

Here is a link to a WORD document so you can change numbers AND add digits in the hundreds. Here it is in PDF for easier access.

Base Ten Using Popsicle Sticks

I use the following method as a entry point for double digit numbers.

The photo below shows 2 packs of Popsicle sticks counted as 10 each, followed by single sticks counted as 1 each. The student counts on from 20, with the use of the scaffolded handout (photo at bottom). The handout focuses only on counting on from 20 and shows a photo of 2 of the bundles of sticks. Similar handouts involve counting on from 10 or from 30 etc.

By engaging in the actual counting, the student learns the 10s by doing. This would be followed by counting on from each 10 without the handout.

The use of Popsicle sticks is useful for 2 reasons. First, a bundle of items like shown below is more concrete than the rods for Base 10 blocks. Second, pulling packs of sticks apart of bundling 10 sticks together is an act that is concrete for students and ties into their prior knowledge regarding the grouping of objects (e,g. pack of gum).