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Do your students know the Hide Zero math trick?

Okay, so it's technically not a “trick” (don't tell my students!), but it sure feels like one.

Our first grade team uses Eureka Math (Engage NY) as our core math curriculum. This Hide Zero math activity is introduced about halfway through the school year. It's the perfect time for all those place value lightbulbs to go off!

Free math game for place value

I provide math intervention in small groups (inclusion setting). We often preteach skills and vocabulary before whole group concept development. Then we may reteach those skills or spiral in extra practice time.

This free Hide Zero math mat was for my small groups, but could easily be added to an independent math center.

How to Play

Hide Zero cards are used as a hands-on visual tool. Students will see how numbers can be composed (put together) and decomposed (taken apart) as they overlap the cards:

12 = 10 + 2

“Hide the zero” by placing the 2 card over the zero in the 10 (ones place).

I ask my students: “What number is looking at you?”

They can see the 1 in the tens place and the 2 in the ones place = 12.

We can check our work by counting on…10 + 2 = 12.

Why is learning Hide Zero important?

In my experience working with primary grades, the Hide Zero concept is NOT very important in identifying that 10 + 2 = 12. We already have other strategies we can use to solve that addition number sentence.

Instead, the Hide Zero deepens the understanding of number sense and lends itself to what lies ahead in the very near future: place value.

I can't wait to hear what your students think of this math “trick!”

Click the links below for the math resources:

Hi there.

I'm Jennifer!

I’m Jennifer and I was a special educator in the elementary school setting over the past decade. I entered the classroom every day dedicated to making learning inclusive AND engaging.

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