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Tallies, Ten Frames, and Baseball Games

  • Lesson
Number and OperationsData Analysis and Probability
S. Rosen
Langhorne, PA

Your home team can set the stage for students to make math connections. Students will record wins and losses in different formats to discover connections between many of the concepts taught earlier in the year. This lesson will provide daily and weekly practice with patterns, addition and subtraction equations, number models and math communication.

3300 player

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 these skills.

  • Using tally marks
  • Counting by 5’s and 10’s
  • Creating and extending patterns
  • Using ten frames
  • Comparing data

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:

  • Use chart paper to create a Daily Tally Chart of wins and losses as illustrated below. Include your team’s name and logo on the chart to get your students excited.
  • Enlarge and laminate a blank hundred chart (10 x 10 grid) to create your Daily Wins and Losses Chart.

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.

Daily Tally Chart

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.

3300 counting chart  BaseballTally-CountingBoard-Pic 

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.

pdficon Baseball Tally Activity Sheet

Patterns of Wins and Losses

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.

pdficon 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.

3300 adding chart 3300 adding board 

Ten Frames

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.

3300 wins 

3300 losses 

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.

pdficon 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!


Assessment Options

  1. By rotating students into the different jobs, it will be easy to do formative assessments. Daily class discussion of your ongoing charts will also provide assessment opportunities.
  2. Use the Team Tally and Team Wins and Losses activity sheets, ten frame work mats, and math journals as assessment tools.


  1. Your engaged students may want to research and create a tally chart for a different team.
  2. Create a pictograph with your students. Have students trace and cut circles to make baseballs. By using 5 for your key (each baseball represents 5) your students can see the connection with the tally chart. Instead of cutting the baseball into pieces for numbers less than 5, use baseball bats to represent ones. Compare wins and losses OR compare different teams’ winnings.
  3. Use the tally chart to have students consider operations with coins. Students look on the daily tally chart, and consider the number of wins. Ask students, “How much money would this be if each tally mark was a penny? Can you show it with coins? Use a dime or a nickel when possible instead of pennies. Is there a different way of showing it? Show the same connection using a ten frame.”

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.]

Teacher Reflection 

  • Did the topic keep the students’ level of enthusiasm high? Did you get students to participate who are baseball fans, who may not have participated otherwise?
  • How did you differentiate the lessons?
  • What additional instructional experiences will your struggling students need to be able to accomplish the objectives?
  • Did all the students display understanding of the relationship between tally marks, ten frames and numerals? What is your evidence for this?
  • Did you find it necessary to make adjustments while teaching the lesson? If so, what adjustments, and were these adjustments effective?
  • What worked with classroom behavior management? What didn't work? How would you change what didn’t work?
Number and Operations

Ten Frame

The four games that can be played with this applet help to develop counting and addition skills.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Collect, tally and analyze real world data.
  • Count the elements in a set of 1-30 members by 1’s, 5’s and 10’s using a tally chart and ten frames.
  • Explain the connection between tally marks and ten frames.
  • Create addition sentences to show total and subtraction sentences to show difference.
  • Communicate math concepts clearly using developmentally appropriate math vocabulary.
  • Identify patterns in data.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Develop a sense of whole numbers and represent and use them in flexible ways, including relating, composing, and decomposing numbers.
  • Use multiple models to develop initial understandings of place value and the base-ten number system
  • Represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs.

Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

-Kindergarten, Counting & Cardinality

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1
    Count to 100 by ones and by tens.

-Kindergarten, Counting & Cardinality

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.2
    Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).

-Kindergarten, Counting & Cardinality

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.B.5
    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.

Grade 1, Number & Operations

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.NBT.A.1
    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.

Grade 1, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.C.4
    Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

Grade 2, Number & Operations

  • CCSS.Math.Content.2.NBT.A.2
    Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.

Common Core State Standards – Practice

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1
    Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
    Model with mathematics.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP5
    Use appropriate tools strategically.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP7
    Look for and make use of structure.