Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Building Number Sense: Moving in Math (Part 1)

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My son hates to do worksheets. He. Hates. Worksheets. He is six and he was in a public school last year, but we moved and now we are trying out homeschooling. Last year was a lot of socializing,  projects and fun in PreK. Now we are in Kindergarten and he just wants to play, he doesn't want to do work.

So it has been a tough road of mixing in play to learn and then also your standard "put this on paper so I can prove you can do it" kind of stuff. I personally think that there are lots of ways to assess one's knowledge, but we are building a portfolio of what he has learned and including some typical worksheet type things to show he can solve math problems that align with the Kindergarten and First grade curriculum.

My son learns best when he doesn't realize we are doing school work and he is MOVING. So here are some ways to get in math while moving that have worked in our house.

Number Squats: We use this movement to build number sense by skip counting. When you first start, count by 1s. Down is 1, up is 2, down is 3 , up is 4, etc. Then as the child becomes better with counting to 20 or 30, you start whispering the 1, 3, 5, 7,... and saying the 2, 4, 6, 8... louder. Then you even move to "saying the odds in your head" and only saying the evens out loud. Before you know it, the child will be skip counting by 2s.

Leaping Lily Pads: To skip count by other numbers, print out a fun shape, like lily pads, and have the child leap like a frog from number to number. If just starting out from skip counting by 2s, you can try counting by 5s or 10s. If you want to work on adding or subtracting, you could also change this up to include the skills in a number of different ways. One way would be to ask something like 1 + 3 and the child hops over to the 4 and then ask another question and the child hops to the next one and so forth.

Twister: Working on name shapes or properties of shapes? You could draw shapes like circles, rectangles, triangles, squares, etc. or even 3D shapes like spheres, cylinders, pyramids, prisms, etc. on paper. Then tape these to the circles of the twister game. You can play by using the spinner to tell you what hand or foot to use, but also either call out the name of the shape or characteristics of the shape.

Water Balloon Math: This idea from No Time for Flashcards is genius as the warmer weather arrives. I don't think you would have to have hula hoops for each one, and you could even get out of printing the numbers by just writing them with sidewalk chalk on a driveway, side walk or patio. You could also make this suitable for older kids by using fractions, decimals or even integers!

Hopscotch: This is an old favorite and it shows how math really is every where! Take this up a notch with fractions as shown on this lovely blog.

Fire Hose: This idea is perfect for all the little firemen and firewomen out there. I know my boys would love it. Basically, you can work on anything for this activity. You could just write numbers in chalk on a fence, sidewalk, driveway or patio and then give them adding or subtracting problems. They find the answer and "put out the fire." You could also write the question and give them and answer. Ask them to find the question that would have that answer. You could use this for site words too. Check out more here.

Be sure to check back next week for part 2 of the series: Building Number Sense.

What are your favorite ways of getting kids up and moving while learning math?

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