Monday, June 22, 2015

Making Math Meaningful: Numbers to 20

Numbers are important for children as they enter school. While it is necessary for our preschoolers to count in sequence to 20, we also need to help them recognize numerals and understand numeracy. This goal can be meaningful and fun.

One “game” you can play to help children is to use (recycle!) old plastic eggs. We used a permanent marker to write numerals on each egg. Note that we put a line under the numeral so children would know which way to look at the egg. This is especially important for 6 and 9.

You can put the eggs in a bowl or bag and have children pull out an egg and say the numeral on it. Celebrate when it is “read” correctly.

We also like to encourage children to collect small items while on a walk or playing in the yard. These can be used as part of the “game” and they help to show children that we don’t need to buy things to learn and have fun.

Small pebbles were collected and put inside the eggs. The child chooses an egg, says the numeral, and then opens it. The pebbles are put in a line for the child to count, as shown below. This gives number meaning to the numeral.

Note that we include 15 as this seems to be one of the most difficult numerals for children to say and recognize.
Be sure to have children point and count from left to right, the direction we read.
Finally, have children choose an empty egg and fill it with the stated number of items. This is the highest order of mathematical thinking. The child must recognize the numeral and match the number of items to the numeral.

In this seemingly simple “game” there are 3 necessary learning objectives: recognizing and saying numerals, meaningful counting , and matching items to a numeral.  This helps children develop number sense! 

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC - 2.F.02, 2.F.04, 2.F.11.
Head Start - X.A.1,  X.A.2, X.A.3, X.A.4, X.A.5.

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