Count with Beads

Posted On August 15, 2009

Filed under Math

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One of our first math games was a visual counting exercise. I laid out number cards up to 29 and gave them pink and blue glass beads. I told them a blue bead was worth 5 pink beads and had them set out the appropriate number of beads for each number. For example, 13 would have two 5’s (blue beads) and three 1’s (pink beads).


Math: 10s game

Posted On May 13, 2009

Filed under Kindergarten, Math

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For math today we did a spin off on 10’s Go Fish from this site. From the Uno Deck I took 4 of each number 1-9 and put them in the middle. Each of us got 2 cards. Each turn we could draw one more card. With each card drawn, I would say “You got a 3. What number do you need to add up to 10?” If they didn’t know, I handed them 10 glass beads and told them to take away 3 and tell me how many were left. If they had a 7, they could set aside their match. Then it was the next person’s turn.

We all ended up with a lot of leftover cards so next time we might try making it more of a Go Fish type game.

Math: Divisible by 3

Posted On May 13, 2009

Filed under Kindergarten, Math

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For math yesterday we took our pile of number cards and divided them into odd and even so each boy got a pile. Then the separated their piles into whether or not each number was divisible by 3. A couple of the easy ones Tackler was able to figure out in his head. For the others, I had them count out the appropriate number of glass beads, then divide them into three even piles.

Sidenote: When showing them how I made up names, Bartholomew, Alice and George. Tackler loved my names and kept asking for a reminder of them and made several accidental variations on the name Bartholomew. Prince on the other hand gave his three piles to himself, mom and his Beanie Puppy Wrinkles. It was fun to watch them.

When they had their even piles I had them tell me how many each person got and how many were left over. When they were all done I had them work together to put their numbers in order (as you see above) and then repeat the list several times until they got comfortable saying 3, 6, 9, 12, etc.

This math game taught division and multiplication and I am looking forward to doing it repeatedly, with the other number groups. It was a great exercise. If you have any fun math activities, I’d love to hear them.

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Math Websites and Books

Posted On March 18, 2009

Filed under Math, Reading List, Resources

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(Explanations are quotes – I haven’t checked these out for myself yet) Peruse Julie Brennan’s extensive book lists. Her site is outstanding. – Sir Cumfrence books. Q is for Quark and G is for Googol are good for older kids

Greg Tang books – They’re not traditional math books — more like problem solving with
numbers. For my mathy kid, they were great because they reinforced his
inherent ‘number sense’ and were fun and visually-attractive. Tang’s books aren’t really instructional books, though. More like recess with math
especially try Math For All Seasons.

Public School Overview

To be used as a checkoff sheet that we have mastered each section.
o Kindergarten
~Probability and Statistics
~Numerical and Proportional Reasoning
~Geometry and Measurement
~Playing with Patterns

o Kindergarten
~Characteristics of Living Things
~Weather Patterns
~Properties of Objects

o Kindergarten
~Map Skills
~Holidays and Famous Americans

Probability and Statistics

How do graphs help us?
When is a picture better than words?
What are the chances?
Is it fair?
Why predict?

Pose q’s about personal information, experiences and environment.
Explore ways to record and organize the data using tallies and tables
Construct real graphs and picture graphs and describe the data using the term more, less, same. Use a venn diagram.
Identify and extend visual, auditory and physical patterns. (weather patterns?)
Discuss probability using spinners and dice.
Record and discuss results.

Prediction: Can I fit more tiles or more counters in a handful?
Grab a handful of (scrabble) tiles and a handful of counters (glass beads?). Count each pile.
Discuss the probability of more of the same if done again. Repeat. Create a graph showing results and discuss it.

Numerical and Proportional Reasoning

What is a number?
How can numbers help us?
What are different ways we can count?
Why is money important?
Can we buy things without money?
What is a fraction?
How can we show a fraction?
Where can fractions be found in the world around us?

Identify numerals 1-10 and match sets of objects to the numbers and order the sets from least to greatest.
Use numbers to locate, order, label, measure and make comparisons.
Identify position of objects: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, last.
Use objects to act out story problems and solve practical problems that model combining, separating, comparing, missing…
Basic multiplication or ratios: 1 cat has 4 legs. 2 cats have 8 legs.

Count past 50. Group and count objects by 2’s and 10’s.
Estimate number of objects in a set using 10 as a benchmark. Count and determine if amount is more or less than 10.
Identify sets and numbers which are one more and one less.
Recognize pennies and dimes. Count and trade pennies for objects.

Take a set of objects and form two smaller sets that have equal amounts.
Cut objects into 2 parts and describe equal shares as halves and unequal shares as not halves.
Use a variety of models to identify a hole and a half.
Cut an object into two parts and describe the parts as closer to a whole, closer to a half, or closer to having very little.
Recognize that two halves put together make a whole.

Division and fractions:
Take 8 dry kidney beans and separate equally among 4 bowls. Then 9 beans and 3 bowls. 10 beans and 2 bowls. etc.


Sort, order, compare and use comparative language to describe small sets of objects by length, area, volume.

Compare 2 and 3 dimensional shapes and id shapes and solids in the environment (triangles, squares, rectangles, circles, cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones).

Use a variety of materials to create geometric shapes and solids and build copies of simple shapes and designs by direct observation and by visual memory.

Describe the position, location and direction of objects (inside, outside, top, bottom, close and closer).

Sequence events on by before and after a date or time.

Estimate the amount of objects in a handful and then county to verify.
Estimate the amount of objects in a set using benchmarks of 10 and count to determine if the estimate is more or less.
Explore, describe and discuss strategies to estimate length, area, temperature and weight using nonstandard units to compare.
Explore using everyday objects as nonstandard units to measure length, area, capacity.
Compare the length of 2 objects using a balance scale and identify which is heavier.

Task 1:
Make a box with block shapes (square, circle, rectangle, triangle) and geometric solids (sphere, cube, cone, cylinder). Give the box to the student and have him identify each shape.
Ask him to do the following:
Put the rectangle in the box
Put the cone on top of the rectangle
Put the circle next to the rectangle
Put the cube near the box
Put the cylinder closer to the box than the cube
Put the sphere inside the box
Put the triangle above the box
put the square somewhere of your choice and tell me where you put it

Task 2:
Show the student a calendar and ask:
What is this and for what is it used?
What is today’s date?
What will be the date tomorrow?
What was yesterday’s date?

A Day in the Life of _______
Have child put the following words in chronological order – morning, afternoon, night. Draw a picture of something you do during each time and tell about it.

Task 3:
Draw a rectangle. Model how to estimate how many scrabble tiles will cover the rectangle using one tile as a guide. Write down the estimate. Cover the rectangle using the tiles. Count the number of tiles used. Discuss the difference if applicable. Take the tiles and place them in one side of a balance scale (HOW CAN I MAKE MY OWN BALANCE SCALE OR WHERE CAN I BUY ONE?). Find an object whose weight you would like to compare to the tiles. Estimate which side will be heaver. Place the object in the scale and note the actual finding.

Playing with Patterns

What is a pattern?
Where can we find patterns in our world?
How do you predict what might come next in a pattern?
What are some different ways we can group objects?

Student can create a repeating pattern and explain the attributes used. He can identify the repeating part of the pattern and extend it.

Recognize, copy and extend simple patterns of sounds, colors, shapes, textures and numbers. Identify patterns in poetry, art, music, body movement and physical environment. Make comparisons and describe qualitative and quantitative changes of a given pattern (more, less, longer, one more,…)

Use small objects (paperclip, small toys) to imprint a pattern into playdough.

Math Fun with Food

Posted On September 11, 2008

Filed under Activity Ideas, Math

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Use soda, glasses of water, candy bars, pizza or cookie dough to learn about fractions.

ADD PICTURES!! Leaf Impressions -> Square Area

Posted On September 11, 2008

Filed under Activity Ideas, Math, Science

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Today the boys learned about area and calculated the square area of leaves. They created graph paper by drawing a 1″ grid on paper. I held the ruler and they drew the lines. Then they collected 3 leaves each and made crayon impressions of the leaves. They made a line on each square that was mostly filled with leaf impressions and counted the squares. This was the square area of each leaf.

Next time:
They need more practice making leaf impressions before we get busy learning so many concepts at one time. They were not able to take ownership of the project because I didn’t explain what we were doing, just directed them on each step. I should have broken it into more sessions so they could understand the point better. Though they “got it”, they will get it more deeply when we do it again.

Idea from Janice VanCleave’s Play and Find Out about Math: Easy Activities for Young Children (ages 4-8)

Math Resources

Posted On August 22, 2008

Filed under Math, Reading List

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Grocery Cart Math by Jaye Hansen
Applying Algebra by John LP McCabe
Mathematicians are People Too by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer
Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer


Posted On July 26, 2008

Filed under Charlotte Mason, Math, Resources

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Teach children the concrete before the abstract no matter how old they are. When they are young always have them use counters such as dry beans or buttons rather than cubes. Give them story problems and let them use their counters to solve them. When they can add or subtract up to 20, introduce multiplication and division using beans. They will see right away multiplication is the same as addition only faster.

Let them use counters as long as they want. No child should use a multiplication table until he has created one and it might take months to make one. Let the child learn through experience faster and easier ways to do any type of math.

Daily mental effort, one step at a time, will give the child the habit of concentration. Encourage clear thinking and rapid, careful execution. Do not redo incorrect problems; move on to the next problem.

To learn money, use real money
To learn weights and measures, weigh and measure. Weigh out 4oz of sand or rice. Have them guess the weight of an object such as a book and then weigh it. Learn fractions while learning measurements. Use a yard stick and measure objects around them. When learning place values, say “two tens” instead of “carry the two”.

Great resource book: Applying Algebra by Garlic Press

Source: A Charlotte Mason Education; A Home Schooling How To Manual by Catherine Levison