The importance of number bonds

Number bonds simply let us split up numbers. They show how numbers join together, and how they break down into component parts. From EYFS, number bonds forge the number sense needed for early primary students to move to addition and subtraction. As children progress, number bonds become an essential mental problem-solving strategy and yet many of these critical number bonds are not known.

In line with our CPA approach to teaching maths (see 'How do we teach maths' tab), children are first introduced to number bonds in a concrete way.  They may start by real-world objects and then use counters to represent them. From here, they progress to grouping the counters into two groups and so seeing that their original number is made up of two different numbers eg 5 counters can be shown with 3 and 2 counters.

Children move on to finding all the ways the number can be made and drawing what they find.  Finally, they will use mathematical notation eg 3+2=5

Below is a visual representation of the number bonds KS1 children learn and an explanation of the order to learn them in.  In addition to this, there is a NCETM task with different ideas for chidlren of all ages entitled The five-ness of 5.