Primary School

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Our book this week is 'Commotion in the Ocean'. Follow the link below to listen to the story:



Focus in Maths this week:


To understand that zero means 'none' and to partition numbers.



  • To understand that zero means 'none'.
  •  To understand and describe how to partition numbers below 20 into tens and units.


Understanding zero means 'none'


Count aloud together but ensure you start and end with zero when counting forward and backwards, emphasise that zero is the first number.


Choose some containers from the house and put items inside, for example, pieces of lego, coins, cotton buds and so on. Leave one container empty. Write numbers onto paper and cut them out. Ask your child to count the contents of each container and place the correct number next to the correct amount. When you get to the empty cup, ask, 'How many...….are inside the container?' emphasise together it is empty which represents there are none inside and that equates to the number 0 (zero). 


Repeat this again, but this time leave more than one container empty and have lots of zero cards or pieces of paper with zero written on them ready. Ask your child to match the correct number to its container again. 


Apple Trees


On a piece of paper draw some apple trees, leave one tree empty. Have number cards/paper to match the amounts you have drawn and emphasise again that zero means none or you can ask your child to write the correct number underneath the tree. 






Have a lot of pennies or counters available for this activity. On a sheet of paper, draw a grid of squares. Inside every square write a number between 0 and 5. Your child has to see the number and place the right number of coins on it. On the squares that have 0 written on them, they must not place any coins.


Understand and describe how to partition numbers below 20 into tens

and units (ones)



Explain to your child that today they are going to be partitioning numbers. To partition a number means to split it up to understand the value of each digit. Explain that they will be partitioning numbers into tens and units (ones). 


Draw a set of tens frames (see above). Have some counters ready if you don't have counters, use something in the house that can be used for counting, for example, small pieces of pasta.  Alternatively, you can draw circles onto paper.


This website is great for a visual explanation: 


Two different colours works well when explaining tens and units.


Show your child a tens frame, using the tens frame website above, counters or drawing circles--ask your child to place, for example, 5 counters onto the tens frame. Increase the number until you get to the number 10, explain that you will see all of the tens frame is full.

Write the number 11, ask your child how can they show the number 11 on the tens frame (they need to use the second tens frame). Discuss that they are now partitioning, spilting the number up into tens and units (ones).

Show this visually to your child on a tens frame using the website above, counters, circles onto paper etc:

1 ten (1 lot of 10) and 1 unit = 11- show this visually by counting how many altogether on the tens frames.

Repeat for number 12, ask your child to look at the number, it starts with a 1 so we know there is 1 lot of ten and then 2 units, count them altogether and that makes 12. 

Show this visually using a tens frame: 

1 ten and 2 units= 12


Show your child a number, for example, 17, discuss, what does the 1 mean in 17? What does the 7 mean? Can they tell you? There is 1 ten and 7 units. Can they show you how to partition the number 17 onto their tens frames using two different colours? (see above)



Independent or supported activity:


Draw some tens frames for your child and write a number next to it, can they partition the number into tens and units using two different coloured pencils?

Emphasise at the end they can check their tens frames by counting the circles altogether.


You could also create some tens frames that you have filled in yourself and ask your child to write the number next to the tens frames. Can they also tell you how many tens and units there are?


We understand that partitioning can be tricky, but just have a go and send us some photographs to:


Victoria Park work -
Thompson Park work -


Good luck and have fun smiley