Benchmarks of 5 and 10

This resource has been developed in partnership with the NSW Mathematics Strategy Professional Learning team, Curriculum Early Years and Primary Learners, and Literacy and Numeracy.

Using the resource

This resource is the fourth section of a six part resource supporting number knowledge. Use this resource in conjunction with the other resources in this series in order to support a connected network of critical mathematical concepts, skills and understanding.

Supporting tasks

Full instructions on how to use each of these tasks, including materials, related tasks and learning intentions are included in the resource, available for download on this page.

Partitioning numbers

It is important for students to understand, and use their knowledge, that any given whole number can be partitioned (broken) into smaller parts. This flexibility in thinking about numbers, and using that flexibility, is an important foundation for flexible strategies.

Task 1: 10 or bust

Students watch the ‘10 or bust’ video to learn how to play

Variation 1: Adapt this task to focus on combinations to 5.

Variation 2: Adapt the game to focus on combinations to 20. How does what we know about combinations to 10 help us with solving the combinations to 20?

Task 2: Let’s talk

Students watch the ‘Let’s talk’ video

Number combinations

Memorising basic facts is not the same as working with them so often that a student comes to know number combinations. Facts that are learnt by rote are more easily forgotten. Teachers need to strive towards providing rich and varied experiences for students so that they internalise number combinations with conceptual understanding. Modifying games as suggested by students and teachers can be a really powerful strategy. Teachers should make careful decisions when adjusting games to ensure the task meets the mathematical goal they are hoping to achieve with students.

Task 3: Making ten

Student make various combinations of 10 using ten frames

  • Variation 1: Adapt this activity to focus on combinations to five.

  • Variation 2: Play ‘shake and drop’ and explore combinations to ten without the ten-frame.

Task 4: Six piles

Students using DoE playing cards 0-5 to make two or more cards equalling five

  • Variation 1: Adapt the game to compose any quantity up to and including 10

  • Variation 2: Use any operation

  • Variation 3: Use the ace to represent eleven and adapt to game to find combinations to 20.

Download part 4 of the number knowledge series


  • Numeracy

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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