Tallies, Ten Frames, and Baseball Games
PreK to 2nd
In kindergarten, routines and repetition are important in helping a
child grasp concepts. Although the recording of data with this lesson
needs to be done daily, you can choose to do any or all of the four
activities every day or several times a week, according to your time
constraints. You may even decide to do one activity for two weeks and
change to a different activity for the following two weeks. The
activities presented below are meant to build or reinforce important
mathematical concepts, and they should be used in whatever way works
for your particular classroom situation.
Daily activities should take from 5-10 minutes and can be done as
part of your circle or calendar time or during whole group instruction.
You can continue any of these activities throughout the baseball
season, or end it when all students have accomplished the objectives.
By baseball season, if students have familiarity with the following
concepts, this lesson can be used as written. If they don’t, this
lesson can be used as a vehicle to teach these concepts and practice
To get students excited about your daily baseball data collecting,
use interdisciplinary activities as a daily warm-up. Sing “Take Me Out
to the Ball Game” or play a song related to baseball such as John
Fogerty’s “Centerfield”. Read a quick baseball story, such as, “My
Baseball Book” by Gail Gibbons. Do a cheer for your home team, such as,
“2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate? Phillies, Phillies, go Phillies!” Have
students create posters or pennants for their favorite team.
In preparation for the baseball activities below, you’ll need to do the following:
Each day, ask students who are interested in your local team to
share the results of the previous day’s game with the class. If
necessary, use the MLB website to check results.
After data has been collected, some or all of the activities below
can be used in whatever manner is appropriate for your classroom.
One student is the “tally master” of the day. They record the win or
loss from the previous game (or games—on Monday, they may need to
record the results from multiple games over the weekend) on the Daily
Tally Chart. (You may want to have the student tell you where they will
put the tally mark before they actually do it. This will prevent
mistakes, since they will use a marker.) The tally master counts the
tally marks (by 5’s and leftover 1’s) and records the number of wins
and losses (in standard form) on a white board. The tally master calls
on classmates to tell three things about the chart. [Our team has more
wins than losses. They have fewer losses. They have two more wins than
losses. They need three more wins to have a bundle of five.] Be sure to
model this job for a few days before a student takes over. Pose
questions such as, “Are there more wins or losses?” to get students
used to talking about the data.
Use the Baseball Tally Activity Sheet if you’d like students to record their own data daily or once a week as a formative assessment.
Baseball Tally Activity Sheet
Choose a second student to be the “pattern master.” This student
records a W or L on a blank 10 x 10 grid. At the end of each 10 games,
students discuss how the team has been doing. They look for patterns or
information to share. [This week they lost three games in a row. Last
week they won more than this week. There was an AAB pattern for the
first six games last week.]
Use the Daily Wins and Losses Activity Sheet if you’d like the children to record their own data.
Daily Wins and Losses Activity Sheet
A third student should be chosen as the “equation master.” This student
takes the number of wins and losses that have been recorded on the
white board, and writes an addition equation beneath. The equation
master then counts the total tally marks to find the sum. Be sure to
model counting all bundles of 5 before counting on with the extra
individual tally marks; for example, count 5, 10, 11, 12 for the data
shown on the tally chart above. Next, the equation master should write
an equation for the difference between the wins and losses. Remind
student to match up each win to a loss on the Daily Tally Chart and
then count how many extra there are. The results should be recorded on
the white board.
Ten frames can be used as another way to model the number of wins and
losses. Use the Overhead Ten Frame or draw a ten frame on the
blackboard. Ask students to tell you how many marks are in a bundle on
a tally chart. [5.] Ask what each bundle of tallies will look like on
the ten frame. [One row.] What will 2 bundles look like on a ten frame?
[Two rows.] (An important concept for kindergarteners to master is 5
and 10 as a group that also contains 5 or 10 individual items.) Show
students that if there is one bundle, they automatically would place 5
circles on their ten frame. The extras would go on the next row. Show
how easy it is to see how many more you would need to make a bundle on
the tally chart.
Students could practice modeling wins and losses on the Ten Frame Work Mat by drawing circles or using counters. This can be used as a formative assessment.
Ten Frame Work Mat
By the end of the school year, you will have a classroom full of
baseball fans with number sense. Celebrate by having them wear baseball
shirts or their team colors. Don’t forget to take a team photo!
Questions for Students
1. How do tally charts make it easier to count large numbers?
[Tally marks are collected in bundles of five, so you can count by fives, which is faster than counting by ones.]
2. How do ten frames make it easier to count large numbers?
[Ten frames allow you to count by tens, which is faster than counting by ones.]
3. Which do you like to use better and why?
[Counting by tens is faster than counting by fives, so ten frames are better.]
4. Why aren’t there “good” patterns on our win-loss chart?
[There are many reasons why a team could win or lose, so anything
can happen. Wins and losses don’t occur in a predictable pattern.]
5. Could you tell how many ten frames you would fill in by just looking at a number in standard form? Explain.
[The first (tens) digit tells how many tens, so it will tell how
many complete ten frames would be filled in. The second (units) digit
tells how many more must be filled in an additional frame.]
Pre K to 2nd
Grade: PreK to 2nd