What’s in a number?

As discussed in the previous math post, “Number Sense,”  children have to be taught that a number represents a quantity.  When we think about things that come in 4’s we can picture four square, a four-leaf clover, four angles and sides in a square, and other mental pictures as well.  Children don’t have the chance to “picture” anything until we teach them.

So today, we are going make a special book for each number.  That is, this is the activity for today, but I am hoping that you will devote a book to each number, 1-10, over the next 10 days because it will exhaust your child’s attention span to work on all 10 numbers today.

Developmentally, young children can not grasp that a number stays the same when you re-arrange the amount spatially. But, if you want to help them see a number represented in many ways in a book, made with their own hands, this will be a fun place to start.

To prepare:

Grab some paper….I’m not fancy….use what you have: printer paper, loose leaf, construction, you get the picture.  Fold them in half.

You will also need Markers, crayons, colored pencils.

Finally, grab something they can manipulate.  It can even be snacks like goldfish.  I grabbed paper clips simply because it was sitting on my desk. Like I said, I’m not fancy.

1.  Get excited with your child as you ask them to make a number book with you.  “Let’s make a book for the numbers we like to count! What number do you want to make a book for first?”  (Choice is an incentive for most children).

2. After your child has picked a number write it on the front of a folded piece of paper.  If you really want to let them let loose, tell them to write the number a many times as they want on the front cover to “decorate” for you.

3.  Ask them to help you count “that many” objects for your book.

4.  On the left side of the book let them arrange the objects however they want, and then ask them to “record” or write it down exactly the way they arrange it “so that we will remember what it looks like” and then allow them to do that for each page with as many different creations as they come up with.  Staple their book and make sure their name is on the cover 🙂

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1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on What’s in a number?

  1. Finger Math | themommyteacher.com
    December 20, 2010 at 11:38 am (7 years ago)

    […] of hands-on activities when introducing and practicing new skills.  And in the post “What’s in a number?” I talked about children needing to see number sets represented in many ways.  Today, we are […]


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