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Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education

Always 12 (1st Grade)

Recommended # of Players: 2 - 4
Always 12

Always 12 provides students an opportunity to add more than one number at a time.  Students use the numbers 1-6 as parts of a greater whole, in an attempt to reach the goal number 12.  This helps to reinforce the part-part-whole relationship among numbers as many different parts can be used to reach 12.  Students also experience the commutative property of addition (4+3=3+4) because the order in which they add does not matter.  Always 12 has the added benefit of asking students to think about subtraction in a different way.  When addends on the board equate to a number higher than 12, students must begin to think about how far that number is from 12, and consider the many substitutions they can make using their cards.

*As students begin to master this game, Foxes Boxes may provide additional challenge.

Click the below icons to print out grid, cards, card backs, rules and notes.

Always 12 grid

Always 12: Grid

Always 12 cards

Always 12: Cards

Always 12 card backs

Always 12: Card backs

Always 12 rules

Always 12: Rules

Always 12 notes

Always 12: Notes

Standards Addressed: 

Common Core Standards

*Click on the category title (ex: "Counting and Cardinality") to view the entire standards of the Common Core.


Counting and Cardinality 

Know number names and the count sequence.

  • K.CC.1. Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
  • K.CC.2. Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).

Count to tell the number of objects.

  • K.CC.4. Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
    • When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
    • Understand that the last number name said tells the number of objects counted. The number of objects is the same regardless of their arrangement or the order in which they were counted.
    • Understand that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger.
  • K.CC.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 1to 20, count out that many objects.


Operations and Algebraic Thinking 

Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.

  • K.OA.1. Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
  • K.OA.2. Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
  • K.OA.3. Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).
  • K.OA.4. For any number from 1 to 9, find the number that makes 10 when added to the given number, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record the answer with a drawing or equation.
  • K.OA.5. Fluently add and subtract within 5.


Number and Operations in Base Ten 

Work with numbers 11-19 to gain foundations for place value.

  • K.NBT.1. 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 (such as 18 = 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.


First Grade

Operations and Algebraic Thinking 

Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.

  • 1.OA.1. Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.

  • 1.OA.3. Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)
  • 1.OA.4.Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 - 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8. Add and subtract within 20.

Add and subtract within 20.

  • 1.OA.5. Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
  • 1.OA.6. Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).

Work with addition and subtraction equations.

  • 1.OA.7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 - 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.
  • 1.OA.8. Determine the unknown whole number in an addition or subtraction equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 + ? = 11, 5 = _ - 3, 6 + 6 = _.


Second Grade

Operations and Algebraic Thinking 

Add and subtract within 20.

  • 2.OA.2. Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.