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Lesson Plans
Fact Family Trees
1st–2nd Grade
Objective Objective

Students will identify addition and subtraction fact families to 10.


Materials Needed Preparation: Reproduce the tree trunk template on brown construction paper, the apples template on red construction paper, and the baskets template on green construction paper. Each student needs one tree trunk, one set of four apples, and one basket.



Introduce or review the concept of fact families with your students. Tell students that understanding fact families can help them remember related math facts.

Use three linking cubes to demonstrate a fact family. Say, “If you know that 1 (hold up one cube) + 2 (attach the other two cubes) = 3, then it’s easy to remember that 2 + 1 = 3 (continue to demonstrate with the cubes), that 3 – 2 = 1, and that 3 – 1 = 2. They’re all related!”

Write the four equations on the board or chart paper to reinforce the concept.



  1. Give each student seven cubes and a Fact Family Work Mat.
  2. Write 3 + 4 on the board or on chart paper. Ask students to place three linked cubes in the first circle and four linked cubes in the second circle on their mats.
  3. Ask, “What does 3 + 4 equal?”
  4. Invite students to share their answers. Then write = 7 on the board to complete the equation.
  5. Explain that you are now going to switch the first two numbers in the equation. Beneath the first equation, write 4 + 3. Ask students to build the new equation on their mats by placing 4 cubes in the first circle and 3 in the second circle. Invite students to share their answers and write = 7 on the board.
  6. Discuss the fact that both equations have the same answer.
  7. Write 7 – 4 on the board. Ask students to put seven linked cubes in the first circle. Then ask them to remove four cubes. How many are left? Add = 3 to the equation on the board.
  8. Ask students if they notice anything about the new equation. Discuss the fact that 3 and 4 together equal 7, so when students take 4 cubes from 7, there are 3 left.
  9. Work with students in the same way to find the answer to 7 – 3.
  10. Conclude the lesson by explaining that a group of related addition and subtraction problems like this one is called a fact family. If students know one of the facts, the other facts in the family will be easy to recall.
  11. If necessary, repeat the lesson with different fact families until students understand the concept. Then give students three numbers that make up a fact family, and ask students to work in pairs to figure out the four equations. Ask students to share the four equations with the class. Write them on the board or chart paper.
Independent Practice Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a tree trunk template and a 12" x 18" sheet of light blue construction paper. Instruct students to cut out the trunk and glue it to the light blue paper.
  2. Invite each student to choose a basket with a fact family printed on it. Have students glue their baskets to the bottoms of the tree trunks.
  3. Give each student a set of four apples. Prompt them to write the four equations in their fact family on the apples. Then have students glue the apples to their trees.
  4. Display the trees on a bulletin board titled “Fall Fact Family Trees!”

View the 1st–2nd Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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