Saturday, January 25, 2014

Math lately - partner games and decomposing numbers

We've been flying along in math lately! Since we lost our beloved high school tutors, I'm trying out a new format for our math period, which is loosely based on the Daily Five management model. I start out with a math warm-up, such as skip counting by 10s, subitizing (identifying the number of dots or objects automatically without counting them), or figuring out the mystery number. Then I do a ten-minute mini-lesson with the whole group, usually on the rug. Next week our mini-lessons will focus on those pesky teen numbers (11-19) and how they are actually broken down - into one "ten" and some "ones." Then, after the mini-lesson, the kids break into small groups and do one of four stations:

  1. Math By Myself (drawing, counting and finding other ways to represent the number of the day)
  2. Math with a Partner (playing math games with another person)
  3. Math Work (using cubes, blocks, Legos, geoboards, and other manipulatives to sort and build) 
  4. Math with the Teacher (meet with me!)
Below are pictures of some of the great games we've been playing at Math with a Partner.

Sorting patterns and non-patterns 
More pattern sorting
Finding jungle animals around the room,
and measuring their height in Unifix cubes
Towers Up, a game of rolling the dice and
taking down the corresponding number of cubes
Last month we began learning about decomposing numbers. This is a very important math concept for kindergarteners (and first graders and second graders and third graders...). Decomposing essentially means breaking down a number into parts. For example, the number 5 can be decomposed into 1 and 4, or 2 and 3, or 5 and 0, etc. While this may seem like simple addition, it's actually a great practice for kindergarteners to build number sense. We don't just want them to memorize math facts, such as 4+1 = 5, without really understanding what that means. I want them to be able to visualize five objects, splitting into a group of 4 and a group of 1. This will help them greatly when they are expected to do higher math such as multiplication (which is just repeated addition - we want them to see 5x3 as 5 groups of 3 objects).

Below are some ways we have been working with decomposing numbers. These hands-on activities are a great way for students to internalize the meaning of "decomposing," and later apply that to addition and subtraction facts.
Making cube "trains" with the same number of cars,
broken into different groups 
Using bingo dobbers to portray different ways to make 3
Ways to make 3
Drawing spots on ladybug wings, to represent ways to make 4

Ask your kindergartener if they know any ways to make 3 or 4! In a few weeks we'll be moving on to making 5 and 10.

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