art · math · STEAM · story

Watermelon Wishes

Today’s story is Watermelon Wishes by Lisa Moser. Charlie and his grandfather plant some watermelon seeds in the spring. Charlie hopes they grow a wishing watermelon. Grandpap wonders what a wishing watermelon is and what wish Charlie will make. Charlie and Grandpap enjoy summer as they watch the watermelon vine grow and grow. Listen and find out if Charlie and his Grandpap find the wishing watermelon and if Charlie’s wish comes true.

What would you wish for if you had a wishing watermelon? Create a watermelon slice out of paper or draw a watermelon with crayons. Maybe you want to make a playdough watermelon or even one out of Lego bricks. Get creative! Don’t forget to put in the black seeds. Those are the seeds you need to plant a watermelon plant.

For my example, I cut a piece of red paper into a quarter-circle, but you could choose to do a whole circle, oval or a semi-circle… depends on what you want your slice to look like!. Then I cut a green sheet of paper slightly bigger to represent the skin, you could add a white layer too for the watermelon rind. I glued the two together at the top so that I could open them up and write in my wish. Then I drew on the seeds. You could cut pieces of black paper to glue on as the seeds.

If you want to add a bit more science… you could label the parts of the watermelon. Draw the life cycle of a watermelon. Or even plant your own!

Want to add some math? Count the seeds in a slice of watermelon. Estimate how many seeds in all the slices you have or in the whole watermelon. Create a watermelon graph: Do you like to eat watermelon? You could create a chart or graph collecting data to find out who in your family and/or friends likes to eat watermelon. Do more people like watermelon or not?

math · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Ten Eggs

We will wrap up this week with one more egg story. Today’s story Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler. Gwen the hen and Red the rooster are very excited for their eggs to hatch. Since it is “bad luck to count your eggs before they hatch”, Red doesn’t know how many eggs were laid. When the eggs begin to hatch, Red travels back and forth to the worm store to purchase worms for the new chicks.

This book would be a great opportunity to discuss the difference between fantasy and reality. We want children to enjoy the imaginative worlds that are created for them in their cartoons and storybooks, but at the same time we need them to begin to see that there is often a big difference between the fantasy of a fiction story and the reality of life (non-fiction or informational text).

Create a T chart to compare items in the story that are fantasy and those that are based in reality. Have your child explain why they believe each item belongs under fantasy or reality. If the item belongs under fantasy, challenge your child to explain what the reality would look like.

To extend the learning…

This book leads easily into math!

one to one correspondence (the ability to match items to other items or to a corresponding number. this helps solidify the concept of quantity)

provide your child with 10 eggs, have your child use items or illustrations to match one chick to each egg and then take it a step further and create one worm for each chick. If your child is struggling, remove eggs and start with a much smaller number.

Use the same eggs, chicks and worms to compare quantities. set out a number of eggs, chicks and worms (have them be all different quantities to begin). Then ask “What can you tell me about the amount of eggs, chicks and worms now?” Notice I didn’t point the children into using specific terms yet. You want to see what they observe on their own first. We hope they will say there are more/less _____ than _____, or _____ has the most/least. The ability to compare quantities is a key piece in number sense and will assist them moving into addition and subtraction as well as graphing and other math skills.

The other direction you could easily take with this story is ways to build a 10. In the story they mention that 1+2+3+4=10. This is another skill that is key for children to develop. We want them to understand that the concept of addition is to bring more into a group of items. Often times we focus on ___+____=____. This is important, but being able to decompose numbers into a variety of groupings will help with mental math later. Have your child use Lego or other colored items to group items into 10s. 2 red +3 yellow+2 green +1 white +2 black = 10 Lego bricks. This will help your child when they are approaching word problems later. You could easily state this in terms of a word problem and have your child illustrate it as well. I have a building that has 10 bricks. 5 are yellow, 1 is red and the rest are green. How many green blocks do I have? Then have your child build it to determine how many green they need.

math · STEAM · story · topic

What is Growing Inside This Egg?

Today we will continue to learn about eggs! Our story What is Growing Inside This Egg by Mia Posada, uses riddles to learn more about various animals that are hatched out of eggs. At the end of this recording, the teacher provided the directions to an activity for her class, but this can be done by your child at home. Cut out an egg shape. Now glue that egg shape onto a sheet of paper. Use this egg shape to make an adult animal who lays eggs (turtle, bird, frog, octopus, spider etc…). Then have your child write a fact about this animal.

Do you need more facts about oviparous animals? Watch this power point video made by Mattahunt Elementary School about oviparous animals and their eggs.

To extend our learning today, lets do some math! Here are a few ideas.

Draw simple nests on a sheet of paper and have your child roll a die or a pair of dice to find out many eggs to draw in the nest. Do not want to draw nests? That’s fine… not all eggs are in nests! You can draw egg cartons, a line to draw octopus eggs, etc…

Another fun addition or number practice would be to cut out a variety of eggs and write numbers on the eggs. Then provide your child with dominoes. Have your child sort the dominoes so the addition fact matches the number on the egg.

Ready to go beyond that? Practice greater than, less than and equal to with the number eggs you made above. Teach your child that the symbol eats the bigger number. But, make sure you also have your child read the number sentence to you. Many children can set up the fact, but then struggle to state what the number sentence says. 9>3 nine is greater than three. 1<8 one is less than eight.

math · STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic

Eggs

Today let’s look at some animals who are hatched from eggs. Can you list some? Did you think of any that are not birds? Let’s read the book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller.

After listening to the story, make a circle map of all the animals that lay eggs that you remember. So many things come from eggs. How many did you remember?

How to extend the learning…

  • hide small animal toys or pictures in eggs and then sort them by animals that come from eggs and not from eggs. Create a simple T chart for use of sorting.
  • Go on a walk and keep a tally chart or write on a T chart all the animals you see and if they come from eggs or not.
  • cook eggs for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!
  • looking to challenge your kiddo? write the names of all the animals they listed on the circle map on small sheets of paper (or just cut them off the chart from earlier). Now have your child put them in alphabetical order. Or, sort the words by beginning sounds. Or by the number of letters in the word. Or by animal type. Or….

Ok… so what is my child learning??? Not only is your child learning about the animals that are hatched from eggs, which in an of itself is a big topic, but they are also: classifying, counting, sorting, observing, discussing, debating, exploring, and more!

By having your child record the observations made you are having your child recall information and then organize the thoughts onto the chart, this is not only a science skill, but also a pre-writing skill (as in before you write, not just before you are able to write). Both the circle map and the T chart are graphic organizers. Sorting, counting, tally counting are all math skills.

By going on a nature walk and observing you are connecting the learning to the real world around you and helping extend the learning. Did you come across any animals that your child did not know where they should be classified?

The use of the plastic eggs and toys brings in an additional element of fun.

math · teaching thoughts

Addition

Most kindergarten classes are taking on addition at this time in the year. Addition is more than just memorizing facts. Often times families help their child memorize facts and then the child does not want to do that work behind understanding addition concepts. While this is not a huge deal now, it might be later on.

Educators have recognized the need to teach mental math, that is what “new” math is in the early years… mental math on paper. We teach children to not just memorize, but think math. You will see there is a lot more story problems and very few facts sheets.

Now this does not mean that we do not want children to memorize math facts, but we want them to understand the thinking behind the facts too.

For example instead saying solve 4+5, teachers might say: There are 4 large books and 5 small books on the table. How many books are on the table? We want to see the children move from drawing 4 large books and 5 small books and counting each book to moving towards 4+5=9.

For this fact, they might say:

  • Put the big number in my head and count up from there 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • that they know that 4+4 is 8 and one more is 9
  • Or they may say that 5+5 is 10 and one less is 9.

While these steps might seem like a lot to teach and learn, it is actually how you do mental addition. Look at the numbers you have, determine a fact you know and manipulate the numbers from there. We talk about making the facts less messy. Later they will learn to break down numbers into 100s, 10s and 1s and then use this breakdown to add.

Ok… so what does that mean for me as a parent? I encourage you to get your child to manipulate math facts. Tell them number stories and help them illustrate the answer. Challenge them with multiple addends. Look at addition as anything that means more.

  • 6 birds are in the tree. 4 more land on the branch. How many birds are in the tree now?
  • There are some children in the room. 3 have on jackets and 7 have on sweaters. How many children are in the room?

They also will need to solve facts with missing addends

  • There are 4 pink candies and some yellow candies on a plate. There is enough candy for 9 children to each get one piece. How many of the candies were yellow? 4+__=9 (four pink and how many yellow makes 9 pieces is this fact)
  • 10 children line up to get a drink of water. Some have their own water bottles and 2 need to get a cup. How many have their own water bottle. 10= ____ + 2

Present facts as number sentences with the answer on either side of the = sign. Use symbols to represent the missing fact piece. Often you will see a box used, but try to use other signs too, this will help later when getting into harder algebraic equations.

game · math · STEAM

Snack Math

Who doesn’t like learning with food? Snack time is a great learning opportunity. Provide larger bowls of snack and have your child(ren) count out the number they will eat (counting and number sense). Draw a grid on the napkin your child will use and have them put one item in each section (one-to-one correspondence). Have your child line up the snack items in a line and then say “Eat the third strawberry” or “eat the cracker next to the piece of cheese” (following directions, cardinal numbers, prepositional words).

Here’s the key…. they don’t realize you are teaching them something. They don’t see it as learning, they see it as snack time, but a fun version. Why is it fun? It is interactive. They have your attention. There is a challenge. How many Cheerios can you stack before they fall over? (enigeering)

This weekend is Valentine’s day. So if you have some heart shaped snacks, have some Valentine snack fun. I used heart shaped Cheerios to practice addition fact of 5. Draw a heart on a piece of paper and provide your child with cheerios. Put the math facts into the heart and then again on the line. I would have them leave the 5 for the line to use each time and then let them eat the ones in the heart. You need to let them eat of they will loose interest!

You could have your child write out the facts on a sheet of paper. You are creating a fact family, all the number facts that add up to a specific number. 0+5, 1+4, 2+3, 3+2, 4+1, 5+0. You also want to have your child learn to see that 5=1+4 is the same as 1+4=5. When they begin to understand how to put these facts together, challenge them. If you have 2 and you want to have 5, how many more do you need? 2+_=5. You need to have 5, you already have 4 how many more do you need? 5=4+_.(missing addend)

This can all be worked on during the time your child is eating snack. You do not need to have a long drawn out lesson. Five to ten minutes of playing with numbers every day is a HUGE benefit going forward in math learning. We want children to see all learning is fun and sometimes tasty.

game · math · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts

Math and Penguins

Today we will listen to the story Penguins Love Colors by Sarah Aspinall. In this story 6 penguins, named after 6 different color plants, work together to paint a colorful picture for their mom.

Today, let’s do some math! I am going to show you a few different adaptations of this activity. Your child will need, 2 dice, a sheet of paper, a pencil, counters (goldfish crackers would work perfect and go with the penguin theme).

On the sheet of paper draw out two ten frames on the top half of the sheet and on the bottom, create three columns.

Now have your child roll the dice. They will use the counters to show the total in the ten frame at the top. If your child struggles to see how to do this, using two different color dice AND counters that match the dice colors often helps to see this process. Remember that they are NOT putting the amount of one dice in the top ten frame and the amount of the second in the bottom. The goal is to see the addition of the two numbers together. In my picture I rolled a 5 and a 6. So I have the top ten frame filled in completely and the bottom only has 1.

Next your child will record the number sentence into the columns at the bottom. Was the total less than 6, exactly 6 or more than 6? You do not need to work on saying 4 plus 1 equals 5. You could have your child state 4 and 1 more makes 5. This way of stating the fact actually matches math thinking more and will help with the understanding of addition.

Ok… so my kid just doesn’t get it… now what? First, you might need to do the steps of this activity with them a few (like 3 or 4) times before they even begin to see the steps. You can break this down and do just the top, or just the bottom. OR, you can start with on die and do the whole thing but change the bottom to less than 3, exactly 3 and more than 3.

Now… let me tell you this is a LOTTTT of math thinking. Your child needs to recognize the number on the dice. They need to transfer this information into filling in the ten frame… oh and do it with two different numbers. Now they need to count and determine the new number made. Ok… THEN they need to figure out if this new number is less than, greater than or the same as the number 6. Oh and don’t forget you then need to record the result. Just a few steps. Just a bit of math thinking and learning.

This is a simple activity that can be adapted easily and played often. The more you play games such as this, the more your child will understand the concept of putting numbers together AND comparing numbers. You can also use dominoes, playing cards or number cards you make on index cards or sheets of paper.

math · teaching thoughts · topic

Math Monday

This week I am going to write a series for you the parents! I’m giving you my two cents on many learning topics. This is my opinion as a educator as well as a parent. So much of the impact we have on our children’s learning has to do more with how we think than what we do!

Math is NOT scary! read it again Math is NOT scary!

Sadly we still live in a world were people are afraid of math. Math is a set of steps. Math is black and white… right or wrong… for the most part. But there is more than one way to solve a problem. There is more than one way to see how to get to the end result.

A large issue with adults and math is they were forced to memorize facts. You learned that 2+2=4 and that 5*8=40, but you didn’t learn the why. You just learned the fact. When you start to think math, not just memorize it… you will find that it makes more sense.

In schools, we use a lot of manipulatives and manipulation of visuals to help see math. New math is mental math on paper…. or with manipulatives. Take for instance the concept of “Make a 10”. This is teaching children to see the addition fact 6+7 and break it down to 7+3+3… why? Why can’t they just memorize that 6+7 =13? Make a ten is an easy mental math step… I know that 7+3 is 10 and then 10+3 is 13. Seems like more steps, but then do it in your head… hey wait. If those numbers were 17+16 what then? 10+10+7+3+3. This is THINKING math.

I could go on and give more examples, but I won’t.

My thought for you today is play with math. Provide white boards and have your child illustrate problems. Provide counters (Lego, cereal, goldfish, crayons,… anything). Make learning of math fun. Help your child to think math… not memorize it!

Remember this is just my two cents.

math · topic

Topic Tuesday More Candy… and sorting

Let’s start by watching this segment from Unwrapped on How M&M’s are made. I always like sharing this type of information with children as they often have no concept of how the items are created. This episode give a bit of the backstory as well as a tour of the facility where the candy is produced!

Now lets read another M&M book… yes, another fun math book using M&Ms! This one is called More M&M Math by Barbara Barbieri McGrath. In this book you will sort and then graph candy… so guess what we are going to do today!?! Sort and graph!

You can check out a post I shared in April for how to sort and graph M&M candy.

Instead, I sorted the collection of odd Lego pieces I have in my kitchen. Don’t you have an odd Lego collection somewhere? No? Well sort any odd collection you have. Maybe you can then convince your child to put them away when they are done sorting?

Help your child create a graph grid to fill in with the materials you are choosing to graph. I was lazy and didn’t get out a ruler, but doing it with straight lines helps a bit. Now sort! Talk about what you see. Which is the least? Which is the most? Are any the same? How many more gray than red? How many fewer gold than clear?

math · story

M&M math

This week is all about math… AND CANDY!

Today we are going to listen to two M & M math books. The first book’s math skills are a lot simpler than the second book.

The M&Ms Counting Book by Barbara Barieri McGrath… this book uses a bag of M&Ms to count, pattern and makes shapes

The M&Ms Addition Book by Barbara Barieri McGrath… this book uses a bag of M&Ms to practice addition.

Ok… so let’s do some math with M&Ms (or Skittles, or Lego blocks, or… whatever colored items you have on hand!)

Today we will work on patterns. A pattern is something that repeats itself. When we start patterns we begin with simple AB patterns 1 green, 1 brown, 1 green, 1 brown. Then move on from there. ABB 1 orange, 2 blue, 1 orange, 2 blue or AAB 2 blue, 1 orange, 2 blue, 1 orange. We then typically add in a third color 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 red, 1 green 1 blue etc.

First have your child recognize the pattern. Talk about the pattern put words to what you see. Next have them copy the pattern, make it with their own set of materials. Then they can extend your pattern… can you add on to my pattern? What comes next? Finally have the child make their own version of that pattern. Can you make an AB pattern with your own color, material, whatever change in variable.

Notice that I showed the pattern broken into chunks. This helps your child see the repeat of the pattern. Once children get good at creating their own and understanding the concept of patterns, they can make more and more complex patterns.