I live in a home of math nerds. As such we like to spend time doing puzzles and math games. I came across some soma cubes that I used with my students and thought it would be fun to do it with my family! Soma cubes are a puzzle consisting of 7 different shaped pieces that when placed together in the correct way make a cube. And there is not just one right way of completing the puzzle- there are over 200 different ways these pieces fit together to make a cube! Isn’t that crazy?!?
I had some old direction cards that allowed you to use the 7 pieces to create different shapes. (not shown because I already threw them away) These cards were worn out- and well, I’ll just say it- they weren’t cute. Some of you might understand the effect cuteness has on learning even if it’s only to bring the teacher joy haha. I got to work making new, updated cards using Open Office (shout out to free software!) and am so pleased with how they turned out!
You can easily make your own Soma pieces by gluing little cubes found at the craft store together and then painting them (or you could leave them the natural wood color). OR you can take the easy route and buy them.
I made two sets of cards- a black and white set that is more challenging, and a colored set that went with the blocks we purchased. The colored set makes solving the puzzles way easier, since you can see where each block is placed. Side note: the colored cards match the blocks I painted.
Soma cubes are a great activity for kids to do when they are finished with their work! They are fun and with both the black/white and colored sets of cards you can easily differentiate this for a center. To ensure accountability, you could have students take a pic of their finished puzzle with a class iPad or tablet. And then post on your class blog for parents to admire! 🙂
Click here to download these cards. I hope they bring your kiddo joy in their learning. 🙂
The past 5 months I have had the extreme pleasure to tutor a couple kids in reading and math. I had so much fun planning our hands on learning activities that I thought I would share them with you! Learning CAN be fun, after all!
I based our themes on the Read Naturally Story we were working on that day. The first post I am sharing is a carnival themed tutoring session. This was SO much fun!
Before I get into our activities, I do have to note that we had all of our tutoring sessions on the floor. Why? Simply because my student was tired of sitting at a desk all day. Listen to your students- sometimes they need a break from the typical classroom learning environment and will actually respond better in a different situation.
CARNIVAL TUTORING DAY
-Use Clown gloves to demonstrate the trick when multiplying by 9s.
The nice thing about this is that we could use the trick with the gloves on or off. I also wrote the numbers 1-10 on the fingertips to help with the counting.
For those unfamiliar with this “hand”y trick (haha): First, look at the equation- particularly to the number that you are multiplying with 9. Then hold up both hands. Starting on the left pinky, count that number of fingers over. When you land on that number, put the finger down. The number of fingers to the left of the finger that’s down represents the number of tens in the answer. The number of fingers to the right represents the number of ones in the answer. Put those together and you have the answer!
For example, if my equation was 9 X 5, I would start by holding up both hands and count five fingers over starting at my left pinky. The number five would land on my left thumb, which I would put down. To the left of my thumb I have four fingers, so I know that I have 4 tens in my answer. To the right of my thumb I have 5 fingers, so I know that I have 5 ones in my answer. 4 tens plus 5 ones equals 45! Easy peasy!
-Clown face ar/er/or words.
I would read a word that had the ar/er/or r-controlled vowel sound. My student had to choose the clown face with the correct vowel, hold it up to her face, and then spell the word.
And of course look absolutely adorable while doing it. 🙂
-Prefix and suffix balloons. This was by far my student’s favorite activity. Prior to our tutoring session, I placed a variety of prefixes and suffixes in balloons before blowing them up.
During tutoring, I placed a word on the floor which we read together. My student used a bent paper clip as our popping tool and I instructed her to pop the balloon of her choice. She loved this!
We both screamed when the balloon popped and then laughed so hard. Who knew learning prefixes and suffixes could be so fun? Once we calmed down a bit, we opened up the little piece of paper that was inside the balloon and read the affix.
My student had to determine if it was a prefix or suffix and then place it at the beginning or ending of the word. We then read the “new” word and discussed the definition.
-Multisyllabic words with popcorn bags.
I LOVED doing this activity! I bought popcorn bags at the dollar tree (can I say that’s my favorite store ever?!). I put really long multisyllabic words that I knew would be tricky to read on the outside of the bags. I told my cute student that she was going to read those very long words today! We looked at the word on the outside of the bag first, opened up the popcorn bag, and dumped out the kernels. The kernels contained the word parts, broken into syllables, of the long word. My student placed the kernels in order- checking the word on the outside of the bag to make sure she got them in the correct order.
We placed the kernels under these really cute touch lights I found at the dollar tree (of course!).
As my student read the word parts, she would touch the lights. This was a great way to integrate some kinesthetic activity into reading. After reading all the word parts, we blended the word and got excited that we could read it! 🙂
After awhile my cute student was able to look at some of the words and mentally break them into syllables without dumping out the kernels. It made my teacher heart so happy! 🙂
I hope these ideas help you to make learning more fun for your students.
Happy Summer everyone! I am so excited to have lots of time to hang out with my #1 kid before she heads off to first grade (and all day school! eeks!) I like to have a lot of summer plans to avoid lots of down time (aka TV time). I will be honest- as a teacher mom I have been frustrated with the lack of differentiated curriculum and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning in our schools. So I have taken it upon myself to provide my daughter with more extensive activities based on these areas and her interests and abilities. I was introduced to Core Knowledge by my sister and a colleague and knew it was a curriculum I wanted to integrate into our activities as well. Core Knowledge is a comprehensive curriculum that builds on the knowledge of previous years. I took some units from this program, tied them in with STEAM, and came up with this summer camp program. I am really excited about it!
The basis of this program is to provide my daughter with activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Every week we will be experimenting with Science on Saturdays. There will also be a weekly Engineering Challenge. The majority of our STEAM learning however will be from learning camps we will have on Thursdays and Fridays. I have a lot of science camps planned (based on content from Core Knowledge and my daughter’s interests) as well as Art, Music, and Math camps. Each camp has different ways you can integrate STEAM. For example, the Rock Camp will not only teach kids the science behind the rock groups, but have ways to incorporate technology, engineering, art, and math into your lessons.
Here is our weekly plan:
Make Something STEAMy Monday: (art project/fun treat/iMovie/etc) centered around STEAM
Take a Trip Tuesday: a day we can take a STEAM centered field trip
Wednesday: Worksheet (I just had to sneak in one day of paper and pencil work) and work on an Engineering Challenge. I made a letter template so the challenges could be done with friends who live far away.
Engineering Challenge idea
STEAM Engineering Challenge Letter template
Thursday and Friday: STEAM camp
Sample STEAM camp idea sheet
Science Saturday with Daddy
Science Saturday ideas
I am uploading my plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Feel free to download and let me know what you think! There are also lots of STEAM based activities that can be found in many communities. Check your local library… many libraries will have science activities that go along with their summer reading programs. I also know of communities that have “Arts in the Park” or “Science in the Park” activities. If you live in the Salt Lake area, The Leonardo Museum downtown will be opening up some children exhibits in a few weeks based on STEAM learning…. I am thrilled!!!! And if all else fails, host your own camps! Your neighbors will love you 🙂
What is geometry? The simplest definition of geometry is the study of shapes, points, and lines. Younger grades will focus on learning attributes of plane (also known as flat or 2D) shapes and solid (also known as 3D) shapes. Students should also be able to partition these shapes into equal into equal areas. Older grades will be required to learn about plotting points on a graph as well as drawing and understanding line and angle attributes.
When should I start teaching my child geometry? This is another standard that can be almost be taught in infancy! So many of the children’s books made for wee ones are about shapes. We see a lot of sorting and stacking shape toys, toddler television shows focus on learning shapes- and it is one of those concepts being taught in preschools around the world. Remember to start simple with basic shapes. Also say phrases like “our kite is shaped like a rhombus” “your ball is a sphere” and “do you want ice cubes in your water”. Using the correct terminology will build that geometry foundation that will help them in elementary school and beyond.
What resources are available to help my child learn geometry? Of course you are the best resource. Pointing out shapes in your environment and using the correct terminology is priceless. There are lot more resources available as well… here are a few of the apps, books, and ideas I have found.
One of the learning tray activities we did when my Boo was a toddler was playing with tangrams. This is a manipulative that is fun for all ages!
If your child is just learning to use scissors, encourage them to cut shapes. This may be difficult at first so you might want to draw lines, or just free cut shapes and see what they come up with!
In our Sidewalk Chalk post I shared the idea of using chalk to draw shapes (circle, triangle, hexagon, and if you are an artist try the 3 dimensional shapes such as cube, pyramid, etc!) on the driveway. Once the shapes are drawn, dance around until you call out a shape then everyone has to hurry and find one to stand on.
In our DIY Light box post I shared some ways to incorporate geometry. We used transparent shapes during free play, made shapes on an overhead projector geoboard, and used a transparent symmetry mirror.
Here are more ideas for teaching geometry from around the web.
Well- this is it! I hope you have had fun learning about math standards and the resources that are available to help us teach them to our kiddos. Even if you aren’t home schooling (which I’m not) you are still your child’s best teacher and taking advantage of learning opportunities will definitely give your child an advantage at school. And besides- learning can be fun!
What is Measurement & Data? For the younger grades it is the ability to measure and estimate length and width using standard units, represent and interpret data on a graph or chart, and understanding the concepts of time and money. Of course the degree of difficulty depends on the grade level of the students- with kindergarteners only being required to categorize data into groups and using terms more/less than to describe varying measurements.
When should I start teaching my child Measurement & Data? The terminology for this standard can be introduced to your child early on. They might not be able to count money or measure anything, but using terms such as “time, coins, taller, shorter, longer, bigger, and smaller” can set a good foundation.
What resources are available to help my child learn Measurement and Data? Of course there are a lot! Because this standard includes time and money this list could be very lengthy. Just know that this is a small sampling to whats available online.
Here is a list of Measurement and Data literature and teacher resources that you can read with your child. I apologize for the length- there were just so many titles that looked interesting! I will divide the books into four categories: measurement/data/time/and money. And don’t forget to click on the picture to learn more about each book!
Data (charts and graphs):
Here are some of our previous posts of Measurement & Data activities.
When Boo was just itty bitty we would play a coin learning game. I liked this because not only did she become familiar with money words, but it was a great fine motor activity. And it was as simple as taking down her piggy bank and sitting on the floor!
I made some free printables that you can download in our New Years Countdown Bags post and Our Disneyland Adventure post. These activities are both similar in that your child gets to open up a bag at a certain time. Can I just say we had a great time with our Disney Clock bags! I highly recommend making them for the long car trips.
Played with some of my old money manipulatives for the overhead projector (did I just age myself as a teacher) . You can read more about in our DIY Light Box post.
During our Lego Day we made rulers out of legos and ran around the house and measured things. Of course I didn’t take a picture of that activity. But adding with legos was fun too and it is math related 🙂
During our studies of mammals we made animal footprints and then categorized them by the number of feet they walk on. Keep in mind this was a preschool activity- you could always extend this by having students make different graphs and charts to represent their data.
Here are some other great posts on Measurement & Data from other bloggers.
Interaction Imagination posted a really fun and magical activity Creating Fairy Doors. Get your rulers out for this one- not only will your child make a cute door but they will learn a lot about measuring! She also posted some Forest Math activities which include measuring the size of trees and checking the depth and size of holes using sticks. So fun!
Kids Creative Chaos shares a St Patricks Day Game that will teach your kiddo to count money. She has included free printables for her game as well! I love to see math learning integrated with fun holiday stuff 🙂
I love Naturally Educationals post March Weather Bar Graph. This is a great example of math you can do at home with your little ones. She also has some ideas on how to incorporate this activity into a lesson for grade level kids. She also has a cute Candy Heart Graph. I especially love that she has her four year old label her graph… great way to incorporate writing! Plus I just love the look of child-made work.
I have tried to keep this post informative and yet not too long- which was hard to do with all the resources available to teach Measurement & Data! I am especially impressed with all the good math literature that is now available in helping our kiddos understand concepts that can sometimes be a little tricky or abstract.
This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post Numbers & Operations in Base 10. Fractions are a part of this number system- with every decimal place indicating a multiple of a negative power of 10.
What is included in the standard Numbers & Operations- Fractions? Simply put this is everything fractions- with the degree of difficulty being dependent on the grade level of the student. Some examples of these skills include performing operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) using fractions, comparing fractions, and understanding the decimal system.
When should I start teaching my child fractions? As early as possible (Although it is not part of the common core until third grade). I am a big advocate for communicating with your child using math terminology even at a young age. So your 2 year old might not understand equivalent fractions perfectly, but you can ask them if they want half a sandwich or a whole one. And then you can smile because you just had a mini math lesson during lunch. 🙂
What resources are available to help my child learn fractions? Just as in our previous posts, there are TONS of resources available! Of course in the interest of time I won’t share everything I have found, but this is a good start.
Here is a list of Numbers & Operations- Fractions literature that you can read with your child.
Here is a list of some teacher resources. Manipulatives are important in helping your child understand math concepts, including fractions. I didn’t include any in this list because you can use everyday items such as pizza, apples, straws, paper… anything you can cut in pieces! Using items your child is exposed to on a frequent basis will help them better relate to using fractions in the real world.
I have never written an entire post about activities I have done with my daughter using fractions. However, in our post 20 Activities With Sidewalk Chalk, I came up with the idea to draw several shapes and have your kiddo draw a line to cut the shapes in half/thirds/fourths/etc. Make sure you talk about fair shares (how each section should be the same size) when they are drawing the lines.
Here are some ideas that are from other mom bloggers:
Naturally Educational shares an idea using paper plates in her post Pizza Math. I love how she is having her little ones learn about the numerator and denominator as well as comparing fractions.
Peakle Pie combined frogs, crafts, and fractions in her post Fractions Fun with Origami Frogs. I have never thought of fractions this way before- it is so creative and I know my animal loving daughter could easily consider this math lesson as more of a game!
Of course there are TONS more resources available with fractions. I would love to hear about what you have done with your kiddos at home to help them understand this concept better!
Our math series continues today with a post on Numbers & Operations in Base 10. The past two days we have discussed Counting & Cardinality and Operations & Algebraic Thinking. We are making a lot of progress on our way to learn more about the Math Standards included in the Common Core. (Tomorrow’s post will be about Numbers & Operations with Fractions.)
What are Numbers & Operations in Base 10? There are two parts to this standard. The first is a basic understanding of the place value of numerals in any given number. We refer to this as base 10 because each number has 10 times more value than the digit to the right. For example, in the number 24, the 4 is also known as 4 ones while the 2 has 10 times the value consisting of 20 ones. I hope this makes sense! Understanding numbers in Base 10 also consists of skip counting and comparing two or three digit numbers using greater than, less than, and equals to while looking at the number in the tens or hundreds place.
The second part of this standard- “Operations in Base 10” has the objective that students will be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide while understanding the place value of each digit and how that affects the answer (hence the word “Operations” in base 10)
When should I start teaching my child Numbers & Operations in Base 10? I would start as soon as they can count to 10. I think the most common way I have seen this modeled in a classroom setting is with straws during calendar time. A teacher will put a straw in a bucket for every day they are in school. Once there are 10 straws, they get bundled together with a rubber band and placed in a separate 10s bucket.
What resources are available to help my child learn Numbers & Operations in Base 10? There are actually lots of resources to teach this concept to your kids. I have to admit I am pleasantly surprised- I was expecting this to be a shorter post due to lack of resources but I am wrong!
Here is a list of Numbers & Operations in Base 10 literature that I came up with!
Here is a list of teacher resources and manipulatives that can help you teach your child place value.
We have done a couple activities in the past that can be tweaked to include the math standard Numbers and Operations in Base 10.
Addition Towers with Unifix Cubes: At the time we were just working on very simple addition. To turn this activity into more of an educational place value experience, don’t make the towers with both addends. Take the loose unifix blocks and group them into “ten towers” while finding the sum.
DIY Montessori Number Beads: So this would need lots of tweaking. Choose one color for your beads. Make 10 bead sticks with pipe cleaners with 10 beads on each stick. Or you could spend a gazillion dollars and buy some awesome golden beads from a Montessori store. OK so they aren’t a gazillion dollars but when you can make something similar for free paying ANYTHING just doesn’t make sense.
Here are some activities and idea for Numbers & Operations in Base 10 from around the web!
Boy Mama Teacher Mama shared a fun Ten Frames game to do with your kiddos. She has a set you can purchase or you can download some seasonal ten frames. I am putting this activity on my list of things to do with my Boo!
Naturally Educational posted an activity using coins to skip count. Love the idea to use money!
I will be writing another Numbers & Operations post soon- but instead of being Base 10 stuff it will be all about fractions.
Alright- blog post is done which means the laundry must begin! Yay for me?
So far in our series about math standards we have discussed Counting & Cardinality. Today’s post is centered around Operations & Algebraic Thinking (one of the K-5 Common Core Math Standards). I am excited to share with you some of the resources I have found!
What are Operations & Algebraic Thinking? This is simply understanding and solving math problems using the 4 operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Of course Kinders will start out with gaining a basic understanding of just adding and subtracting while the older grades are required to not only use all 4 operations but to understand them enough to write numerical expressions and analyze patterns and relationships. This post will primarily focus on the younger grades, since this is where I will be teaching soon.
When should I start teaching my child Operations & Algebraic Thinking? You can model simple addition and subtraction problems with your kiddos as soon as you feel your child is ready. I think most preschool age children would benefit from modeling of very simple problems using objects that are important to them. For example: “You have 2 cookies, if I give you 1 more, how many would you have?”
What resources are available to help my child learn Operations & Algebraic Thinking? There are SO many wonderful activities and lessons available to help us teach our kids to understand this math standard. I have included apps, literature, activities from this blog, and links to other great ideas.
Here is a list of some of the great Operations & Algebraic Thinking literature. Just click on the pic to learn more about each book.
Addition and Subtraction:
Multiplication and Division:
Here are some of the activities that we have done in the past centered around Operations & Algebraic Thinking:
MISSION ADDITION When my daughter was 3 we spent a day saving all the animals in trouble via math skills. And while she didn’t walk away quoting math facts, she had a BLAST. There is nothing wrong with a little academic immersion through play! (Feel free to download our free Mission Addition PDF)
I posted a review about Bubbling Math– a math operation game for Kids. I like that this available for desktops as well!
And last but certainly not least is our trusty number scale. One idea is to have your child find the sum by placing two weights on one side of the scale (the math problem) and then on the other side of the scale put a weight on the sum. If their answer is correct the scale will balance!
Here are some other GREAT educational games from around the web.
Math Story’s Math Songs with videos and lyrics. Great resource!
Teachers Pay Teachers. This is a one stop shop with some of the CUTEST math curriculum I have ever seen! (Is it sad that the cuteness is a selling factor for me? haha I promise I enjoy the quality and educational aspects of their work as well!)
As always- I hope this list will be beneficial in helping your kids understand math more fully.
This week I will be centering all my posts on MATH- more specifically: counting & cardinality, operations & algebraic thinking, numbers and operations in base 10, measurement and data, and geometry. For those familiar with the Common Core Standards these should look very familiar! With my daughter in kindergarten this year, and with the possibility of me teaching school this fall, I thought it would be good for me to immerse myself in the current math curriculum. In this post I will share with you what I have learned about these different math standards and some activities that you can do at HOME with your kiddos! So let’s get started on our math adventure!
What is Counting & Cardinality? It is the ability to know, write, understand, group, count, and correctly use numbers. This is an important academic foundation for our little ones to completely master.
When should I start teaching my child counting & cardinality? As early as possible! Take every opportunity to use numbers- whether its counting how long it takes for your kiddo to put on their shoes or pointing out numbers in books, signs, and toys… math is everywhere!
What resources are available to help my child learn counting & cardinality? The resources are endless. Here are just a few!
Number Recognition Activities with our Education Cubes. One of the activities in our post include rolling one die and running around the table that many times (this activity is inspired and created for my little runner… remember to center your learning activities around your child’s interests!)
8 Learning Lessons You Can Use with a Number Scale. I love, love, love our number scale! My Boo (who was a toddler at the time) and I had a great time learning number sense with this fun, hands-on educational tool. One activity mentioned in our post was a “Count With Me” game. To play you give both you and your tot ten weights. Out loud, count from one to ten together while each of you place a weight on the appropriate side of the scale. This will help your tot to see the numbers while saying them… it’s a pretty simple activity!
Here are some other GREAT educational games from around the web.
Creative Connections for Kids has a great kinesthetic game where you use your body to count. I especially like that this is something you can do anywhere! For those teachers- great educational activity to do with your kids when you are waiting outside during a fire drill. 🙂
I hope this list is will be a great resource as your are teaching your kids about counting & cardinality. Remember: Math can be fun! And it doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time to teach these fundamental skills.
I saw this idea on Pinterest and fell in love! While my daughter has her phone number memorized, I wanted her to correlate the memorized numbers with the written digits. We have a ton of pony beads- and while I would have much rather used beads with pre-stamped numbers, I grabbed what I had and Boo and I started creating!
Materials needed: beads (we used plastic beads- if you have number beads then this project will turn out much cuter!) string or pipe cleaner sharpie (in case you don’t have number beads)
Super easy telephone number bracelets (blurred out the number- sorry, I don’t want prank phone calls 🙂
On each bead, write one digit of your phone number. Then let your kids put their phone number in order on the string (or pipe cleaner). And voila! You are done! Of course you could do several extension activities- such as add the area code, see how many 2 or 3 digit numbers they can create using the digits in their phone number, using a separate phone allow kids to practice dialing their number, and of course listen to this fun song: (This is actually how my daughter initially memorized her phone number!)
Teaching your little ones their phone number is SO important for safety reasons- hopefully some of these resources will help you accomplish this task!! These bracelets would be great to take anywhere your kids might get lost- amusement park, fair, zoo, airport, beach, etc!