# Operations & Algebraic Thinking: A Common Core Math Series

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.

There are TONS of Operations & Algebraic Thinking apps available! This is just a sampling of what I have found: Mental Math for Kids (android), Addition and Subtraction for Kids (iTunes), Math Addition Games For Kids (android), Sushi Monster (iTunes), Rocket Math (iTunes), Math: Multiplication Table (android), Einstein Math Academy (android), Division for Kids (iTunes), Medieval Math Battle (android) AND Medieval Math Battle (iTunes), YodelOh Math Mountain (android) AND YodelOh Math Mountain (iTunes), and Operation Math (android) AND Operation Math (iTunes). I could easily list 100 apps that are centered around the Operations & Algebraic Thinking math standard!

Here is a list of some of the great Operations & Algebraic Thinking literature. Just click on the pic to learn more about each book.

Multiplication and Division:

Algebra:

Teacher resources:

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!

I saw the idea of creating Towers with Unifix Blocks on Pinterest (thank you Home Grown Learners!!). This activity is easy to use, hands on, and gets kiddos familiar with the look of math problems.

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.

Candace from Naturally Educational shares a great way to teach addition with regrouping using money! And what kid (or parent for that matter) doesn’t LOVE money?

Little Bins for Little Hands has a cute numbers and colors game that will teach a basic foundation for addition and subtraction.

I love the Teaching about Number Lines with the Number Line Hop post from Boy Mama Teacher Mama. This activity would go GREAT with the book Ready, Set, Hop.

And for those that want a fun, unique math operation challenge, check out Afterschool for Smarty Pants. She has a wonderful post on using Math Squares!

We can’t forget to include two other resources:

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.

Happy Teaching!

# Addition Towers With Unifix Cubes

I am a Pinterest addict. I could pin a gazillion ideas, but do I actually do any of the projects myself? Not as often as I like to admit… however, I saw this idea from Home Grown Learners and knew it was something we could easily pull off! I thought we would add our own twist on the idea and build towers as we added.

I grabbed some unifix blocks and flashcards from my curriculum closet (yes, the closet in my craft room is completely full of teacher stuff!)
I set 6 flashcards out in front of my daughter with the unifix cubes. Since this was our first time doing this activity, I thought I would make it easy for her by having the correct number of cubes next to each flashcard… if I were to do it again I would make her find and count the cubes herself.

Boo just added the blocks together as she built a tower for each problem.

Super easy and very educational! I love the hands-on and visual aspect of this activity that helped Boo understand why 1+3=4. Great idea, Home Grown Learners! Check out her site for more unifix cube activities- actually, just check out her entire site- what an amazing resource!

Happy Teaching!

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it (um, there really is no choice) is to save all the animals in trouble!”

This is how our mission to addition began. Boo received a letter that her help was needed to save the distressed animals (while secretly soaking in some 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 the Mission Addition PDF)

The destination to rescue the animals included three pit stops (you may notice a Diego-ish underlying tone):

1- Find the hidden “plus” and “equals” sign located in the dark and mysterious forest (aka living room). Great way to be introduced to those math symbols!

2- Use addition mats (included in the free pdf download) to add up the silly fish in crocodile lake. I thought our second stop should include snacking on swedish fish. Boo counted the number of swedish fish in each yellow box first.  She then slid the fish over to the green box to add ’em up!

3- Climb the tallest mountain (aka was going to be her bed, but she made a last minute decision that we needed to climb down staircase mountain) to help the spiders (round magnets) solve addition problems using their sticky spiderweb (was going to be a magnetic white board, but I couldn’t find ours so we just used one of our dollar store cookie sheets)

After completing the three activities, we located the secret tupperware full of desperate animals waiting for our help. And then- and only then- was our mission complete.

 Don’t these animals look like they need to be rescued?