# Counting on Fall – Math in Nature

There is a new series of books called “Math in Nature” which journeys into the natural worldThe wonders of nature are shown in vibrant cut paper collages that focus on important mathematical concepts. Each season focuses on an area of mathematics. There are many  ‘What if?’ problems presented in the text.

On the day before Halloween (can you believe it!), 60 primary teachers gathered at DEC to discover and experience activities that promote number sense with Chris Hunter and myself.  We emphasized the importance of differentiating the activities to meet the need of the students.  Assessment for learning is another important aspect to consider when doing these activities with students.  Ask yourself: What do I want the students to know, understand or be able to do?

Here are some of the activities that extended from the ideas in the book:

1. Guess, Check and Estimate – (focus on estimation, referents and skip counting)

• Ask the students take a collection of objects and lay them on the bare tree
• Ask the students to ‘estimate’ how many objects are on the tree board
• Ask the students to make a ‘referent’ of 2, 5, or 10 and pull it away from the total collection
• Ask the students if they would like to revise their estimation (after seeing the referent)

2.  Bat Cave Pattern – (focus on patterning)

What patterns do you see?

• How could you model the patterns using Cuisenaire rods? (or other materials)
• Some students may need to lay rods directly on the book.
• Some student may need to be challenged by changing the number of bats sleeping in each row (increasing by 2)

3.  Making Ten Story Mats – (focus on partitioning and number operations)Ask the students to count out a quantity of 10 objects.

• How many different ways can you make 10 in two parts?
• What stories can you tell about your story mat? (I counted 5 leaves on the ground and 5 floating in the sky.  How many leaves have fallen from the tree?)