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.

Counting on Fall book coverOn 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)Fall Leaves Picture

  • 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)

Estimate of leaves Picture Check number of leaves Picture

2.  Bat Cave Pattern – (focus on patterning)

Bat Cave PictureWhat 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)

Cuisenaire Rods in Order Picture Cuisenaire Rod Square Picture

Bat with Single Cuisenaire Rods Pic Bat with Cuisenaire Rod Pic 2

3.  Making Ten Story Mats – (focus on partitioning and number operations)Flying Geese PicAsk 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?)
  • What equations can you write about your story?

Leaves in Pond Pic4. Roll, Build and Compare – (focus on comparing quantities…more/less/the same)Bears and Berries Pic

  • Ask the students to work with a partner.
  • Each partner rolls a 10-sided die and builds the quantity rolled on their 10 frame.
  • The partners compare their quantities.  Who has more? less? Are they the same?
  • Ask the partners to determine how many more or less.

Scaredy Squirrel Pic 1 Scaredy Squirrel Pic 2

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BCAMT New Teachers’ Conference

The BCAMT New Teachers’ Conference was held in Surrey, B.C. on February 16, 2013.  The participants were eager to extend their knowledge and understanding about helping their students understand the math they are doing.  Throughout the day there was a clear message that students need to be engaged in their own learning and comprehend the math they are doing.  I presented a session for a wonderful group of K – Gr. 2 teachers about building a solid mathematical foundation using one of the many tools available.  We focused on using ten frames to develop number sense.  The group agreed that by using ten frames students are able to use a visual organizer to help them make sense of subitizing and partitioning numbers.

New Teachers’ 2013

NWMC 2012

I want to ‘Thank’ all the wonderful teachers who attended my workshop at the Northwest Mathematics conference in Victoria, B.C. this weekend.  It was one of the last workshops offered for the day and these teachers were absolutely amazing!

The presentation focused on ‘The Big 3’ (subitizing, partitioning and patterning) which are essential in building a solid mathematical foundation in early primary. These concepts are interconnected and embedded in each other.

Our young learners should know what it looks like to behave like a mathematician – seeing sets without counting, breaking up sets and putting them back together again and patterning and predicting.  They are capable of doing the important work of a mathematician.

I have attached the power point and activities we explored, played and discussed at the session.  Please let me know if these activities help you to develop a solid numeracy foundation for your students in a differentiated way!