Many of us use the idea of number bonds with our young students. A number bond is a mental picture of the relationship between a number and the parts that combine to make it.
Now we have a new, colorful way to show these relationships, thanks to Maria at Homeschool Math Blog. If you teach math to young children, check this out:
Maria is writing about 2nd grade subtraction, but I begin teaching number bonds in Kindergarten. The concept of number bonds is very basic, an important foundation for understanding how numbers work. A whole thing is made up of parts. If you know the parts, you can put them together (add) to find the whole. If you know the whole and one of the parts, you take away the part you know (subtract) to find the other part. So number bonds let children see and touch the abstract, inverse relationship between addition and subtraction.
If you want more information on teaching number bonds, including some great number bond games, look at my post: