Saturday, October 6, 2018


Here's a video where you can watch me demonstrate the math tools:

Bean Counters 

Inches are an abstract concept for children, but bean counters will provide a concrete way to do measurement. You will need a package of large, dry lima beans and wide clear packaging tape.  Place a 12 strip of packaging tape on a table with the sticky side up. Put ten lima beans end to end horizontally on the tape. Fold the bottom up and the top down and seal. Trim off the edges.



Demonstrate how to take the bean counter and place it on the end of the item to be measured? How many beans long is it?

Counting by Tens 
To measure larger objects, lay bean counters end to end and count by tens.

Challenge the children to use estimation skills as they try to find something 5 beans long? Can you find something 9 beans long? Can you find something shorter than 3 beans? Can you find two objects that are equal beans long.

Cheez-It Measuring
Did you know that Cheez-Its are one inch squares? What another great way to measure and then EAT!
Dealer’s Choice

People have been entertained by card games for centuries, so shuffle up that deck and let’s pass on some learning fun with children.

Ask children to sort cards by color, suit, number, etc.

Order Please
Remove the face cards and then have the children put the cards in numerical order.

Can children make a pattern with their cards? Can friends identify the pattern?

Mind Reader
Remove face cards. One child comes to the front of the room and draws a card. Don’t let anyone see what it is! Classmates take turns trying to guess the number by asking yes/no questions that include math vocabulary. For example, “Is it greater than 5? Is it even? Do 3 and 5 equal it?”

Line Up
Remove face cards and pass out a card to each child. Call out directions for lining up using math vocabulary. For example, “If you come between 7 and 9 you can line up. If you are an odd number lower than 5 you may line up. If you add your number to 6 and get 8 you may line up.”

Number Stories
Remove face cards, shuffle, and then have each child draw two cards. Encourage them to think of a number story using the two digits. Can their friends tell the answer?

Use two suites of cards for this game. Shuffle cards and place them face down in rows on the floor or a table. Children rotate turning over two cards. If their cards match they may keep them and take another turn. If their cards don’t match they turn them back over and the next child has a turn. The game continues until all pairs have been matched.

Top It
(This game was formerly known as “war,” but “top it” sounds more politically correct.) Remove face cards and shuffle. Split the deck and place face down. Children remove one card at a time and turn it over. The child with the highest number takes both cards. If they turn over the same amount they place 3 cards face down and turn over the 3rd card. The highest number takes all the cards. The game continues as long as time permits.

Add It Up
This is similar to top it. Children turn over one card at a time. The first child to correctly add up both numbers gets both cards.

High, Low, Equal
Make a game board similar to the one shown. Children place a deck of cards face down. They select two cards at a time and place them in the correct category.
Remove face cards. Pass out a card to each child. The teacher calls out a number between 2 and 20. Children “scramble” around the room and find one or two other numbers that will equal that amount.

Dealer’s Choice
Go Fish and Crazy Eights are other traditional card games your students can play, or let them create their own games.

Wouldn’t it be great if children taught their parents how to play some of these card games?

Doing Dot Cards
Dot cards can be downloaded free from several sites on the internet.

One to One
Children match up pompoms, beans, erasers, pebbles, and other small objects with dots on cards.

*Children can also clip clothespins or paper clips to the dot cards.

Dot Flash
The teacher quickly holds up a dot card and then places it face down. The children hold up that number of fingers on their chest. Ask, “How did you know it was that number?”

Copy Cat
The teacher holds up a dot card. The children try to reproduce the pattern with their own counters.

Match dot cards with dots on dice.
*Match dot cards with ten frames with the same amount.
*Make puzzle games where children match dots with numerals or words.

Partner Count
Cards are placed face down on the table. One card is turned over and the first child to say the number gets to keep the card. The partner must count the dots to verify it’s correct.

*To make the game more challenging, ask them to say one more than the quantity of dots, one less, two more, etc.

Run off two sets of dot cards. Place them face down on the floor. One child at a time turns over two cards. If the cards match they make keep them and take another turn. If the cards don’t match, they are turned back over and the next child takes a turn.

It Adds Up
Two children have a set of cards and face each other. They each turn over a card and add up the amount. The first child to correctly say the answer gets to keep the cards.