Building relationships - part-part-whole

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 second 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.


When talking about part-part-whole that entails 2 critical relationships: the parts a quantity can be decomposed into, or composed of; and all numbers can be related to other wholes.

Task 1: Introducing rekenreks

Student watch ‘Introducing rekenreks’ and reflect and discuss a number problem.

Task 2: 6 is...

Students watch the video ‘6is…’ and consider all the different ways to make 6.

Composing and decomposing numbers

Providing students with opportunities and experiences in composing and decomposing numbers can assist in the development of flexible additive strategies. When students know the parts of numbers and see how they relate to other numbers, they are able to use this understanding to additive problems, using derived facts, bridging to ten and so on. For example, a student can use what they know about double 3 to determine that 3 and 4 is double 3 and then 1 more (as 4 is one more than 3), totalling 7.

Task 3: Building towers

Students watch the 'building towers' video to learn how to play.

  • Variation 1: Build the towers and play in reverse. Taking away blocks each time until there are no blocks left.

  • Variation 2: Change the number of towers you build.

  • Variation 3: Change the number of blocks needed for each tower.

Task 4: Dotty 6

Students watch the ‘Dotty 6’ video to learn how to play

  • Variation 1: show students a video without audio of the game being played. Can they work out the rules?

  • Variation 2: Change the total. So instead of Dotty 6, make it Dotty 12 or Dotty 21, for example

  • Variation 3: Change the number cards you use. So instead of numbers 1 - 6, you could make cards from 1 - 10, or only use odd numbers, for example

  • Variation 4: Change the grid from 3 x 3 to 4 x 4

Place value

Most students instantly recognise the fingers of two hands as a powerful representation of ten. You can learn more in the NSW Department of Education article Hands Up: engaging students as a resource for teaching.

Task 5: Number busting

Students watch the ‘Number Busting video to learn techniques

Task 6: Rekenrek Duel 1 and 2

Students watch the ‘Rekenrek Duel’ video to learn how to play

Task 7: Power Dot Pro

Students watch the ‘Power Dot Pro’ video to learn how to play

  • Variation 1: Adjust the number range by taking cards out.

  • Variation 2: Use single dominoes instead of tiny polka dot cards.

Source: Math for Love

Download part 2 of the number knowledge series


  • Numeracy

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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