Plus One Math Lesson and Activity

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I do quite a bit of work with students who need interventions.  Recently, one group has been working on fact recall, specifically plus one facts.  To reinforce these facts, I did this lesson and activity with them.  It could be adapted to fit other math facts as well.


  • Large Die
  • Bag of 7 Unifix Cubes (all of the same color except one)
  • Bell or any sound device
  • Bag of Brach’s Mellowcreme Autumn Mix Candy (anything will work – plastic manipulatives can be used instead of candy; candy/manipulatives can also be changed according to the season)
  • Plus One Game Boards
  • Two Regular Dice
  • Bag of Chips (for each student)

1.  Have students sit in a circle with you.  Then, give each student a bag of 7 Unifix Cubes.  6 Unifix Cubes should be of the same color.  The 7th Unifix Cube should be a different color.

2.  Ask students to look at and count their Unifix Cubes.

3.  After students have counted their Unifix Cubes, ask them to look at others’ bags.  What do they notice?

4.  Now, have students remove their Unifix Cubes from their bags and place them on top of their bag.

5.  Explain to students they will each have a turn to roll the big die.  Then, give a student the big die.

6.  Whatever the big die lands on, students will need to count out that amount of Unifix Cubes and stack them together.

7.  Ask students to add the different colored Unifix Cube to the top of the stack of Unifix Cubes.

8.  Together as a class, count the same colored cubes.  Stop before counting the different colored Unifix Cube.  Ring the bell/any sound device.  This should signal students to add the “plus one” in their heads.

9.  Ask students what the number rolled on the die plus one is.

10.  Repeat this with each student in the group circle.  If a student doesn’t add correctly or shouts out the answer, have the class repeat the problem. More practice never hurt anyone! đŸ™‚

11.  After everyone has had a turn, have students go back to their seats. 

12.  Give each child a plate or napkin (if using food), along with 6 Candy Corn pieces and 1 Pumpkin piece.  Tell students not to touch their food/manipulatives.

13.  Repeat the process from earlier with the food/manipualtives.  Call on a student to roll the big die.  Students count out this amount of Candy Corn pieces.  Once they reach the number, ring the bell/sound device.  Have students add the pumpkin piece and plus one in their heads.  Ask students for the answer.

14. Repeat this as needed.  When finished, students may eat their candy!

Follow-Up Practice/Center Activity:
This is an activity for either partners or groups.  In a group setting, this would be a perfect activity for an assistant or volunteer to preside over. 

1. Give each student a Plus One Game Board and a bag of chips. (This game is from K-5 Math Teaching Resources, a wonderful math resource website!  They have taken the Common Core Standards and created games/activities for each Standard.  If you haven’t already, make sure to check it out!)

2. Everyone will share two dice.  Students will count together.  When the number is reached, the teacher rings the bell/sound device.  Students add plus one in their heads.  Students find this number on their board (once!) and mark it with a chip.  Repeat until a winner has been declared.  You can have students play for a win by row or whole board.