It's possible to use Number Pieces Basic in any situation where you'd use traditional physical base-ten blocks, so long as you don't need the beastly 1,000 cube (which is awesome but not included here). It's great for young learners just getting the basics of the decimal system and useful for all arithmetic operations. You can also pull it out again in algebra and geometry to make connections between abstract processes and concrete relationships already mastered.
It's probably not a great idea to replace your physical blocks with Number Pieces Basic or to hold off on buying a set just because this is free. It's critical that kids associate a particular weight, feeling, and emotional attachment to numbers, and that doesn't happen with a fingertip on a piece of glass the same way it does with a tiny cube that handily weighs exactly one gram. Number Pieces Basic is a tough sell as a permanent substitute.Continue reading Show less
Number Pieces Basic is a virtual set of base-ten blocks with some extra handy tools for annotation. Users can tap units, tens, or hundreds blocks to add them to the whiteboard, change their color from yellow to red to green, rotate them, and join them or break them apart. Groups of blocks can be selected all at once by dragging a finger around them, allowing easy editing or deleting of the whole cluster. Blocks helpfully snap together at the edges, or they can be arranged free-form.
A hand-drawing pen tool and equation editor give the app some extra oomph over its physical rivals. Users can draw all over the blocks to make notes, circle groups, or write numbers; the equation editor adds crisp, easy-to-read math figures to the field, formalizing systems and relationships. It's a totally open-ended tool, made for use with an existing curriculum. Compared to the full version, Number Pieces, this one only lacks ruler tools, and blocks are pre-colored.
Physical manipulation of objects to discover numerical properties is critical for developing early math skills, so base-ten blocks have long been included in the early childhood toolkit. To that end, Number Pieces Basic is fantastic for learning. There's still no consensus as to whether virtual versions are quite as effective as physical tools, but a kid who learns with this app is likely to grasp number concepts more than a child who learns with no manipulatives at all. Sticky controls could stand in the way of reaching learning goals here, so be aware of that potential pitfall.
There's no doubt that the convenience factor is a big plus for Number Pieces Basic. Rather than dragging a bin of blocks, a roll of butcher paper, and a stack of markers around, this app lets teachers have everything they need on their tablet. This kind of at-your-fingertips availability opens up plenty of learning opportunities, and that's a big win.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
Count to answer “how many?” questions about as many as 20 things arranged in a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration; given a number from 1–20, count out that many objects.
Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.1
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.
Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones. Understand the following as special cases:
10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a “ten.” b.
The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
The numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine tens (and 0 ones).
Compare two two-digit numbers based on meanings of the tens and ones digits, recording the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, and <.
Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.
Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used.
Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. Understand the following as special cases:
100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens — called a “hundred.”
The numbers 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine hundreds (and 0 tens and 0 ones).
Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.
Read and write numbers to 1000 using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form.
Compare two three-digit numbers based on meanings of the hundreds, tens, and ones digits, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons.
Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Add up to four two-digit numbers using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
Add and subtract within 1000, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method. Understand that in adding or subtracting three- digit numbers, one adds or subtracts hundreds and hundreds, tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose or decompose tens or hundreds.
Mentally add 10 or 100 to a given number 100–900, and mentally subtract 10 or 100 from a given number 100–900.
Explain why addition and subtraction strategies work, using place value and the properties of operations.3
Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.
Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10–90 (e.g., 9 × 80, 5 × 60) using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.