Friday, October 25, 2013

Zombies are coming...

I am always on the lookout for great little things my Kinders can use as manipulatives for math.  The more they touch, move, and manipulate stuff, the easier it is to understand those abstract things we call numbers.

Halloween isles are filled with good things to use.  When I saw a package of eyeballs I just knew I needed them.  It didn't take long to realize that if I added a cauldron I would have all I needed to play a missing addend game.

The game is simple but the math concepts and thinking can be complex.  The more you get your students talking about what they did, and what they were thinking, the deeper their understanding will be.

The game simply goes like this....take a certain number of things (in this case eyeballs), count them so you are sure of how many you have.  Then while everyone hides their eyes, you put some in your container.  Everyone looks and tells you how many they see.  Now for the many are in the cauldron?  When they tell you (right or wrong), ask them how they knew.  "What were you thinking?"  It is GREAT to get more than one way to figure out the answer.  Check the cauldron to see if they were right.  More discussion, especially if someone was mistaken.  How could they think differently, what could they have done differently?  My quickest student couldn't tell me how he knew.  As a matter of fact he told me exactly the wrong things.  So we talked about finding the words to explain our thinking.  Building vocabulary...building number sense...getting ready to add and subtract.  All wrapped up in this simple game.

When your students are ready I created these recording sheets.
You can change this game as often as you want.  I use jingle bells at Christmas and white pompoms in January.  There are seashells, and dinosaurs, and let your imagination run wild.  Limit the number of manipulatives for struggling students and increase the number as students are ready.  Turn their recorded games into number sentences when they are ready for more abstract thinking. 

Most important...Have Fun (but don't let the Zombies get you)!  Happy Halloween!

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