23) Fluency

Five Plus Bonds: Tic-Ta c-Toe

23.1 Fluency Tic Tac Toe


Develop fluency with single-digit 5 plus bonds.


  • addition as “and”
  • equals as “is”
  • horizontally, vertically, diagonally


A little easier

Represent five plus bonds with fingers

Make each amount spun with fingers using one hand to represent five.

This example shows five plus bonds with right hand dominance.

Represent five plus bonds with bond blocks

Make each 5 plus bond with the matching whole using a linear part-part-whole representation. Place the blocks next to the matching empty ten frame representation on the activity board.  This encourages students to make connections between the linear part-part-whole representation and empty ten frame representation. 

Remove blocks gradually as fluency develops.

  • For example, first remove 6 as 5 and 1 and 9 as 5 and 4. These tend to be the easiest of the five plus bonds to remember.
  • Later remove 7 as 5 and 2.
  • Finally remove 8 as 5 and 3.
  • Place blocks within reach in a random pile. Students can access selected blocks to check facts when they feel the need. 


In the next activity students apply five plus bonds to addition. Go to

Activity 24

Five Plus Bonds: Addition, Building a Wall