Math Week: April 2018
I've had lots of messages this week asking about the resources we used during our math week, and for more detail about the activities, so I thought it might be helpful to put it all in a blog post.
Before I ramble on, I want to briefly mention the affiliate links I've included in this post. If you do click through, Bean and I will receive a small amount of commission which will contribute to new books and resources for her home education. You can, however, find all of these resources elsewhere, including other online retailers, second hand selling pages and your local library.
These are the books we used to support our topic:
Arranging pegs on a peg board to form numbers. A number formation activity for the child who doesn't like worksheets!
The Montessori sand paper numbers are great for kinaesthetic (physical) learners. As your child traces the number, the tactile surface helps to internalise the formation of the number. These particular sand paper numbers are from Absorbent Minds Montessori. You can find them here. The little pegs and boards are a fun and creative way to work on those fine motor skills, strengthening the muscles in the thumb and fingers in preparation for writing. Just as well, as my little kinaesthetic learner made a rainbow on her pegboard, instead of practicing her numbers!
Then mid-morning we went to Tenpin Tuesday at our local bowling alley! This was one of those spontaneous home ed things, but turned out to be a great practical life math lesson. We worked on subtraction as we knocked down the skittles, and on addition as we calculated our score. Bean thrashed me (I'm rubbish at bowling), and we celebrated in the arcades. I gave Bean two pound coins which she carefully slotted into the change machine for a pot of 10 pence pieces. Lots of counting in tens. She read the numbers on the spinning wheel, counted out her tokens, and finally worked out what prizes she could get with her tokens.
Matching and ordering numbers using the Montessori hundred square.
This particular hundred square is from Absorbent Minds Montessori, and is such a great resource for reading, ordering and working with numbers to 100. You can find it here.
This invitation is one that we revisit regularly. Bean has been using it since she was 4 years old, with numbers 1-20. The hundred square, and little wooden tiles themselves, are wipeable, so you can write on them with a whiteboard pen to draw attention to number patterns. Bean wanted to order the numbers, yet struggled to pick some of them out of such a big pile, so I helped her sort them out a bit. She has learned a lot about number using this resource.
We then spent some time sorting out the shapes in our Spielgaben. I bought this set as part of a kickstarter campaign when Bean was 2, and the storage is not that user friendly. Newer editions come with drawers. The activities that we're working on at the moment require specific shapes, and hunting for them is putting the children off, so I sourced some little sorting trays and we had fun organising the shapes. You can find the Spielgaben set here. I've also come across a cheaper version of the wooden manipulatives (no manual of activities or storage chest). You can find it here.
Later the same afternoon, we re-read 'Mouse Moves House' by Nick Sharratt. This is Bean's favourite of the Maths Together Series. We read it at least once each day. By day 3 I had gathered all the resources needed to play the games. You don't need much, just some string, a die, counters, paper and pen. These books are aimed at children aged 5+, and are brilliant for those who do not like worksheet type activities, as all the learning is through story and practical, hands-on activity. We have one left to collect from the series... No Problem. There is a 'Maths Together' series for younger children too, aged 3+.
Exploring addition using the Haba marble run.
I saw this idea on Pinterest, but using cardboard tubes. I'm no longer in the habit of keeping masses of 'junk' for this type of activity, so had to improvise. I wrote out a little page of calculations for the children, and we worked them out together by counting out marbles and putting them into the run.
Later the same day, Bean discovered the number cookies and tray of loose parts that I had left out for her to discover on our coffee table. These number cookies are from my own shop. You can find them here, along with lots of lovely loose parts collections. Each cookie is 4-6cms wide, with a numeral on one side and spots on the other. A great open-ended resource for 3-7yrs.
Subtraction with play dough.
Play dough is a firm favourite with my little kinaesthetic learner, so what better way to work on subtraction than by 'squishing' play dough balls! Count out the number of play dough balls needed for the calculation, then 'squish' the number to subtract. Once finished, we used the play dough to make some numerals to help with writing too. The worksheet was photocopied from a book I found at the library, called 'Kumon Math: Simple Subtraction', link below.
Using an abacus to solve simple calculations.
This was the last little math invitation for the week, awaiting Bean on her return from her Daddy's. I set out just a few simple calculations, as too many can feel overwhelming. I also set out the solutions (can you spot my mistake?!) so that she was able to self-correct. It was interesting to watch her work them out. She worked out the first calculation in her head, without the need for any support or additional resources, including her fingers. I've never taught her how to work out calculations like this. She's self taught. When I asked her to explain how she did it, she's not yet able to articulate her process. She attempted to use the abacus to help with the subtractions, but found it tricky as, again, she's never been taught how to do them. I explained how to use the abacus to help, but she eventually figured out the answers using her own method. Once finished, she made up a whole load of her own addition sentences.
It's been a really fun week! We may well have another math week in the summer, so do let me know if you have any questions or requests x