Friends of 5 is one of the first skills that we work on during our addition and subtraction unit.  It is so important that students are exposed to decomposing numbers into pairs.  It lays a great foundation for the next steps to come when adding and subtracting.

Teaching your students about friends of 5 is a great way to start off a unit on addition and subtraction. I use this as a first lesson to help my students really understand how to compose and decompose numbers.

What are Friends of 5?

Friends of 5 are ways that the number 5 can be broken up.  You can have 0 and 5, 1 and 4, 2 and 3 and all of their reversals.

How can you show Friends of 5?

There are numerous ways to represent this concept.  I have highlighted a few of our favorite below.  All of these are easily transferred to other numbers as well.  We always start at decomposing 5, but we also work on 6, 7, 8, 9, and eventually 10!

Snap cubes are a great way to work on this standard.  Give students 5 snap cubes.  They break it apart.  They talk about the partners of 5.  Repeat until all partners are found.

Teaching your students about friends of 5 is a great way to start off a unit on addition and subtraction. I use this as a first lesson to help my students really understand how to compose and decompose numbers.

Counters are another fabulous tool to use.  We love to “shake, shake, drop” our 5 counters and see how many yellows and how many reds we get.  Students work on saying the phrase “__ and __ make 5”.  For example, “3 and 2 make 5!”

Teaching your students about friends of 5 is a great way to start off a unit on addition and subtraction. I use this as a first lesson to help my students really understand how to compose and decompose numbers.

I want my students to have the hands on experiences listed above, but I also want them to see the numerals written as well.  We create a poster to show what we have learned.  Students are able to reference this throughout our unit.  This is great to go back to after students start decomposing other numbers too!

Videos to Help!

These are 2 of my favorite videos to help teach this concept.  We use the Monkey video to introduce the concept.  We use the Jack Hartmann Video to review this concept throughout the unit.

Just Dance Kids – Five Little Monkeys

Jack Hartmann – Friends of 5