There are some kindergarten teachers I’ve been working with for years. This year I’ve worked with them to create a math-centered book project for their young students. I launched this with a small class earlier this season then repeated it with about 4 groups, total of about 70 kindergarteners, this past week. It went well.
Actually I’m so delighted with how it went that it’s almost embarrassing.
We made a folder out of a long strip of paper, 35″ x 7.5.”
I put some score lines in to help these 6 years olds get started but they made most of the folds themselves. I make a big deal about how to fold paper.
The folder is basically a four page accordion, with pockets for a different math activity in each of the pockets.
The first pocket has a paper with peek-a-boo flaps to help kids visualize the composition of groups of numbers. This was an unusual folded structure, but they caught on really quickly, as you can see in the video clip below.
After the folding comes the cutting
Then the coloring…
…finally they used these images to become more familiar with number compositions. We made these cards for the numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Here’s how it looked watch kids use these to learn their number facts:
Okay, so that was for one pocket.
In another pocket there were squares that the students cut out. I used these to talk about symmetry.
Where one student placed a card on their side of the midline (pencil) another student mirrored the placement. Seeing symmetry is important in math as students as it is a non-numerical way for them to experience the balance that an equation like 2 +3 = 5 expresses.
I extended this symmetry activity beyond the cards in their pockets. We used items around the classroom to create symmetrical designs, something my twitter community liked and retweeted generously.
We also did a project using beads, reminiscent of an abacus, to make groups of 10.
The idea here is to give kids another way to interact with ways to make groupings of 10, contributing to their fluency and grasp of combinations of numbers.
Finally, we did a fortune-teller, aka chatterbox, which many of us made when we were children.
Of course the insides were math themed, using their sight words, too.
Here’s a little clip of the kids playing with these. They absolutely loved this toy.
At first I had a hard time trying to teach this structure to kindergarteners. Once I realized that if I taught it after I worked with them on the symmetry part of this project, the folding would then make more sense to them. It turned out to not be nearly as hard to show them as it originally seemed to be.
The final touch was putting hands on the covers. Literally.
Since the kindergarten math curriculum emphasizes using fingers for counting, it seemed highly appropriate to decorate the covers this way.
Whew! What a week!
I was able to meet with each class for a little over an hour three times each.
Looking forward to repeating this project with other groups.
Also, now I want to create something like this for first graders! That’s what I will be working on this week.