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Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Math Stations

December is such a fun time - so many fun themes to make learning fun. I wish there was more time to get it all in! To explain our Math Stations I must start with a brief explanation of our Social Studies unit - Needs and Wants.
To introduce the concept I read the book, A Chair for My Mother. This is a great story about a family that saves their change to buy a comfortable chair for their hard-working mother after all of their belongings are burned in a fire. To help them get reestablished the neighbors bring needed items - a bed, table, chairs, a bed, etc. We discuss why the neighbors bring these things and not a t.v., PlayStation, video game, etc. We also discuss why the family saves their coins for a chair and not a vacation or jewelry. It's a great story. After our discussion, I bring out Santa's Bag and we sort what's inside by what we need and what we want. The toilet paper is always a hoot!

 On another day the children find picture(s) of needs and wants. They glue them onto wrapping paper "presents" and sort them for the display.  

These lessons eventually lead to HOW we meet our needs. Of course WE WORK HARD FOR OUR MONEY! I use this to my advantage by combining behavior management with a lesson in economics! "Santa" visits our classroom each evening to "pay" the children for doing their assigned "jobs", completing work neatly, staying out of the Sad Book, etc. Each morning the children check their goody bag to find their pay! During the last week of school I will open my Santa Shop (class store) for the children to spend their hard-earned cash!

This is where the Math Station games start...FINALLY! This game is "Shopping for Santa's Suit". The children roll a coin die and add the matching piece to the paper doll. Almost all of the suit is from a die-cut. The rest of the pieces I cut free hand. After the suit is complete the children add the "details" - cotton/fur and facial features. The kids loved this!
This game has nothing to do with the unit - just another counting game to build that all important NUMBER SENSE! "Cover Santa's Beard" - roll the number die and add that many cotton balls until all pictures are covered.

 We loved the "Turkey Tumble" game so much that I had to rework the turkeys - REINDEER Games! The kids LOVE being active - it was wonderful watching them jump up and down after bowling a strike or cheering for a friend who got SO close! They recorded their number on the reindeer's nose.
 This game is called "Reindeer Race". Each child rolls a set (to compare sets of more/less) die. Whoever rolls the higher number adds one reindeer to the strip. The first to get 10 wins. I do not use number dice for this because at this level the children need to SEE the sets and WHY the set is more than the other. Remember, we are building a foundation for the next level.

If I were to remake this game I would use stickers on the strip instead of numbers. The numbers can be confusing. I made it this way in case I wanted to use it as a cover up game - roll the set die/cover the number.

This week we worked on dividing sets equally. To begin these lessons we read the book, The Doorbell Rang. 
After reading the book, a neighboring teacher knocked on the door and delivered cookies to our class - just like the Grandmother in the book. Each table had 12 cookies on their cookie sheet. 
Each table had to decide how they would divide the cookies equally. Some tables had 4 children - other tables had 3 children. It was encouraging listening to them discuss what they would do. They were so respectful of each other's ideas and to make sure that everyone was heard! My job is done. :0

This table said that each person could take one until all the cookies were gone.
This group decided to put cookies on their plate, then check to make sure everyone had the same number.
Isaac said that there was a row for each child! Great thinking!!

There was LOTS of discussion when they realized that some kids got 3 cookies each, while others got 4. 
The best cookie ever!
Next, we recorded our findings. 

The displayed masterpieces!
The children dictated what we did.

The next day during warm-up I had the children pair up. I then gave them one round "cookie" to share. They had to decide what they would do.

Next, I told them that I didn't have enough to give everyone a cookie. They would have to gather in groups of 4. I placed one cookie in the middle and asked them divide the cookie equally among the 4 of them.
Lots of discussion!
Soft Oreos would be great to use as a circle cookie - note for next year!
The end result!
We then named the parts - half and fourth. 
We then moved into Math Stations.
This group is playing "How Many Cookies". One person is the timer keeper - the rest are adding cookies to their plate one at a time. When time is called they will take turns counting their cookies back onto the tray and recording the number.

This game is an extension of the warm-up. The children rolled the fraction die and colored that much of the cookie on their paper. 

This group is playing "Please Share". Each child built 6 playdough cookies. Next, they each took turns spinning the spinner to see how many friends they had to share a cookie with. We WILL play this again next week! FUN FUN FUN

This group played the game, "Santa's Cookies" at my table. We were "bakers" and had to build 6 cookies each for Santa by rolling the fraction die and adding the matching piece. We practiced our fraction vocabulary - whole, half, and fourth together, but the kiddos were required to choose the piece without my help. It's amazing what kids learn when they are having fun!
Let me add that the idea for this game came from a collaborative planning session with my fellow teachers - Jamie Mayas, Julie Lee, and LaShae Henderson. I LOVE bouncing ideas around with other teachers - a good idea almost always becomes GREAT - and the kids reap the benefit!

During the next day's Warm Up we divided a rectangle shaped cookie in half and in fourths. We used the same procedure as the circle. 

Waffer cookies are easy to cut with a popsicle stick - graham crackers...not so much.

This was our last lesson - which I used for an assessment. 
Isaac was the only one to divide his rectangle down the middle.