Category Archives: math

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!

DIY Light Box and Teaching Ideas

Oh, the wonder and magic of playing with light! I have wanted to make a light box for awhile, and I finally set the goal and got it done. I had no idea that there was SO many different (and educational!) things you could do with light!

Light Box Materials:
Clear plastic under-the-bed Rubbermaid container
2 fluorescent lights

To make the light box, I just turned the Rubbermaid container upside down with the 2 lights inside. It isn’t anything fancy- but it was SO easy!!

Light Box Manipulatives:
Colored accent gems, transparencies (teaching manipulatives I used with an overhead projector), dry erase marker & sheet protector, geometry mirror, microscope slides & magnifying glass

There are tons of different ways to play with a light box. I am going to list some of our ideas- enjoy!

Science:
Pull out your old microscope slides! A light box is a perfect way to view ’em! It’s also a great way to view x-rays.

Looking at a fruit fly with a magnifying glass and our new light box

Math
We made lots of designs with pattern blocks. Boo and I also played and sorted money, made shapes with our geoboard, spun the colored spinner, and created symmetrical patterns with our geometry mirror. With the exception of the mirror, the rest of our math light box manipulatives are old overhead projector teaching materials. And since overhead projectors are on their way out in lots of schools, I bet you could snatch some of these up for a great price.

Geoboard designs and colorful spinners
Geometry mirrors- they are such a fun math manipulative! It’s a great tool for teaching symmetry!
Playing and sorting dollars and coins
Art
We used our pattern blocks to make colors. It was a fast way to show that yellow and blue make green! 
Literacy
I grabbed a dry erase marker and a sheet protector and Boo and I had fun reading words! We played a simple game where a predator was trying to get Boo’s stuffed animal and so we had to read the clues to figure out who he was and what he intended to do if he caught us. 
Reading and writing words
And of course, we did a LOT of free play.

Boo playing with 2 geometry mirrors and accent gems

A big source of light-play inspiration goes to Play at Home Mom– she has some “bright” ideas on her blog! 🙂
I would love to hear about your light play! Now to figure out how to make a “Lite-Brite” with our new box….
Happy Teaching!

Montessori Jar: Cleaning Pennies

Boo and I have been a slacking in doing our Montessori Jar since we moved in December (OK, truth be told we had been slacking WAY before our move, and most of the activities that were in her jar mysteriously disappeared only to be found smushed in her plastic vanity drawer where they are at this very moment). Needless to say, I am excited to be back in the Montessori activity game!
I found the cleaning penny idea at The Science Explorer. We set to work gathering the materials- 20 dull and dirty pennies, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, clear shallow bowl, and 2 paper towels labeled “Rinsed” and “Not Rinsed” (the website suggests doing activities with nails and bolts- we just stuck to the pennies).

Gather your materials. I just love the little Rudolph face in the background! She was our little cheerleader during the activity:)
Stir salt in the vinegar until its dissolved. This was a great time to discuss with Boo what “dissolves” means.

Take a penny and dip it halfway into the vinegar and salt mixture. Count to 10 and…

Half of your penny is clean! So cool!!

After doing this a couple times (since it was super exciting for both of us), dump all your pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture.

After 5 minutes, take half your pennies and put them on the “Not Rinsed” paper towel.

 Take the other half of your pennies and rinse them well. Place these on the “Rinsed” paper towel. And now it’s time to wait.

After one hour, the “Not Rinsed” pennies will have a nice blue tint to them! The reason is that the copper atoms are joining with oxygen atoms and chlorine atoms from the salt.

This was a super easy science experiment that Boo and I both enjoyed. We just love science around here!!:)
Happy Teaching!

DIY Montessori Number Beads

A couple of days ago, my daughter dumped an entire bag of plastic pony beads all over the craft room floor. Normally I would have been eager to clean them up quickly and put them away, but I was in a good teachery mood and turned this mess into a learning experience! Boo wanted to know how many beads we had. A lesson objective was planned- organize beads in groups of 10 and then count by 10s to see how many beads we had all together.

After my daughter used tongs to place beads on a picture frame we had lying around, we started making number bead sticks. I grabbed some pipe cleaners, cut them in half, and added 10 beads to each pipe cleaner. SO EASY! To tie of the end, just twist the wire until the beads can’t come off. We had a great time adding beads and tried our hand at simple patterns. This was also a great fine motor skills activity.

There were a couple things I would have done differently during this activity. First- instead of just doing 10 sticks, I would have made 1-9 sticks as well.
And just like the Montessori number beads, I would have color coded each number stick. For example, all the 10 sticks would be blue beads, all the 9 sticks would be brown beads, etc.
Lucky for you, I quickly whipped up an example!

Happy Teaching!

I am linking up this post to Every Day Math Play at TeachPreschool

M&M Patterns

My daughter and I made some simple patterns today with our Valentine M&Ms. I was worried about them rolling all over the place when the idea came to me to put them in our corn on the cob dishes (from the Dollar Tree- I am addicted to that store and might need some intervention!) It’s a simple solution that I thought I would share!

And when the pattern is finished, the candy is already in a dish that holds just the right amount of chocolate that my little ball of energy should be eating.
Happy Teaching!

Bubbling Math Review

If you are looking for a good math facts app, this might just be the one for you!

Bubbling Math is an app designed to help kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. It is great math practice, designed well, and there are lots of levels to unlock as the child wins trophies (cool, right?) But the thing I love most about this app is the parent section.

The cute answer bubbles change with each challenge- making it more motivating to complete just to see the changes!
Screenshot showing one of three levels. Each level has three challenges.

I LOVE that I can see how my daughter is doing with her math facts on this app. I can see the problems she missed- what a great way for me to see which facts I need to work on with her. As a former elementary school teacher, it is important for me to have my daughter not only playing educational games but to help me as her mom know how I can best help her.

My favorite feature: the parent section! Nice way to see the problems your child missed!

I also love that I can also decide the game speed. This was critical for me, since I still have to aid my daughter with manipulatives to answer the problems.

You also have the ability to decide on the operations (add/subtract/mulitply/divide) and difficulty level (easy/medium/hard/expert) you want your child to complete. There is a wide range of children (and even adults!) that can use this app.

It’s nice to be able to choose operations based on my daughter’s ability. Great feature!

I would rate this app 4 1/2 stars- I would love to see the ability to add multiple kids… for all those that want to use this app for your whole family. I just have one child now, so it works perfectly for us, but sometime down the road we might have another little one. I would also love to see the answers that my daughter got RIGHT. We could celebrate the accomplishments of her milestones as she masters specific math problems.

Boo really enjoyed playing this game! I thought it would be more of a struggle to get her to play a math game, but she was hooked right away. The feature that sold her was the fun answer bubbles. Small detail that garnished big results!

Overall, I am very impressed with the layout, design, and structure of this app. Although I received this app for free in order for me to write this review, I would spend the money to buy it!
Happy Teaching!

New Years Countdown Clocks for Kids

Ring in the New Year with your little ones by creating some fun countdown bags! I originally read about this idea here and fell in love! I love that this idea helps to teach kids about telling time!!!! Yay for fun math/party integration!

Each bag contains a simple surprise- it can be a treat (yes I will raid the old Halloween candy for this!), a game/puzzle to do together, even a familiar toy who snuck inside the bag to celebrate New Years with my Boo. I will have the bags all mixed up- every hour during the countdown I will tell her the time and she will have to locate the correct bag in order to get the surprise. But of course she will get it anyway!
There are some adorable clock bag printables (click here) but I wanted to make some kid-friendly ones. Feel free to just click on the pic, download, and use to celebrate New Years!

  I created some half hour clocks too- I was going to try them with my daughter, but thought that they might be a little too much this year.

FYI I was told by my husband that the hour hand on the clock is behind the minute hand. Oops 🙂
Happy Teaching!

Mission Addition (Free Printables!)

 

“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?
I included the pdf so you can share this addition mission with your kiddos! The pdf also has some additional ideas in case your child is begging for more math! Ha!!

We also read Loreen Leedy’s book Mission Addition. It’s a cute book- although it is geared more for the elementary aged child.

I hope you and your child will have as much fun with your mission to addition as we did!
Happy Teaching!

Number Day Plans and Free Printables

In just two days is the start of a new month, and the perfect opportunity to start a new learning goal. A couple years ago I taught my daughter her alphabet with a month of special letter days and activities (read more about that here). We did the same for her colors. It is time to do it again- this time with numbers!
Each number will have it’s own day. On August 31, I will teach my Boo about the number 0. Why the 31st? Because September 1 marks the day we will learn about number 1… and I wanted to integrate learning numbers on a calendar. It just made more sense to me!
On my wiki I have a number book cover and number pages 0-30 that you are free to download and use. The activity page is simple- the number of the day is found on the top. There are 6 activities on each page. The first two activities are tracing and writing the number. The third activity is stamping… I have a bunch of number stamps my Boo will use. The next activity is self explanatory.. trace the number word. (We are doing a lot of tracing these days, can you tell?) The “show the number” activity is where my kiddo will show me the number using objects (stickers, stamps, squiggly lines, dots, etc) The last thing on the page is finding and circling the number of the day on the good ole number line!

click here to see all the number pages to download
I also made a blank calendar for September 2011 that my daughter will use to write or stamp the numbers in each day.
Some other ideas for number ideas might include:
– making up a silly song about the number
-writing the number with sidewalk chalk
-going on a number hunt- looking for objects or groups of objects that correspond with your number of the day
-pull out the Montessori math manipulatives (and ipad apps) or unifix blocks
-connect the dot pages- there is a lot available here for free!
-plus a million other great ideas at the Ideas for Preschoolers site… and tons of free downloads! This site is an incredible, thorough resource!!!!
My hope is to gear these number days to my kiddo-she is already a good little counter, our focus will be learning to write digits 2-9 and recognizing written numerals 11-30. And most importantly- to have a heck of a fun time with numbers!
Happy Teaching!

Number Recognition Activities

We recently played some number recognition games with our Education Cube inserts and had a blast! We have had SO much fun and are a definite must-have for any parent with an active (or easily distractible) learner. Why? They keep learning FUN and there is always an element of mystery when you roll that dice…
Anyway, here are some ideas you can use with numbered dice or your education cubes to learn those stinkin’ numbers:
  • Roll 4 dice. Which number is biggest? Smallest?
  • Roll 4 dice. Put numbers in order from least to greatest and/or greatest to least.
  • Roll one die (that just sounds so weird!) Divide the number in half.
  • Roll one die. Double that number.
  • Roll one die. What number is before/after the number you rolled?
  • Roll one die. Run 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!)
  • Integrate the numbers with your learning units. We recently learned about the weather. I used the number education cube inserts and I created my own weather inserts. First, we rolled the dice. We did different movements that corresponded with the type of weather we rolled. And we counted these movements to the number we rolled. For example, if we got the wind and a 20, we would run around the living room (like we were blowing away in the wind) twenty times. We do a lot of running around here. 🙂
Hope these are helpful! Happy Teaching!
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