## Sunflowers & Math

Sunflowers were given to us recently. This worked out perfectly because the children have been learning about the parts of a plant through our current seed exploration.  The sunflowers started a conversation that brought us to math and counting.

As the children sat around the table they began describing details about a sunflower and what they knew:

“They have seeds inside it.”

“I ate them before!”

“There is honey in the black hole.”

“The sun grows sunflowers.”

“I see brown and yellow.”

“The stem feels soft.”

The materials provided for this provocation were sunflowers, white paper, black sharpies and oil pastels.

The children were asked to estimate how many petals they thought the sunflower had on it. This became a very interesting conversation because the children started off with a very small number, 6! The teacher let the children count and see that there were more than 6.

Working together the children began saying numbers that were greater than the previous number. They also began counting by 10s at one point. The numbers said were: 6,10,14,26,36,46,96,106,1000,1041,1091,1092, and lastly they stopped at 1093.  With the help of each other, their teachers and a number chart the children practiced writing all these numbers in the order they were said.

Usually the children focus on their observational drawings, but instead they taught each other identifying numbers, counting, and numbers greater than one another.

That is the beauty of the Reggio Emilia approach, that the teachers and children work together to expand the children’s wonder and knowledge. Children are self-learners, critical thinkers and not only do they teach themselves, they teach their friends and even their teachers!

“Posting a learning target before a lesson is like announcing what a gift is before it’s opened. Post a question. Bring curiosity and thinking back to the classroom.” -Credited to Venspired.com

## Math and Counting

Their are many different ways of working on counting and math for children. Our mini light table and tiles have began its own exploration all about that! Because the children are so into learning their numbers, they are now counting everything around the classroom on their own. 😀

The tiles in the classroom have played a major role as math. The children have used them in many different ways. While some are creating a shape, others are categorizing them by colors and identifying the colors. Lastly they begin to count all the tiles for each activity they do.

As the children are creating shapes out of these tiles, they have been counting how many tiles they have used. They have been focusing closely on learning their “teens”. The children are encouraged to use the number chart to help them count and identify what 2 numbers make a double digit.

The  children are working on how to count, identify and write the number.

With the type of learning we encourage here at Little Wonders, we find it very imporant for parents and teachers to understand the difference between conceptual learning and skill development. Many children may be able to identify 5, but do they understand what 5 is? This is why we constantly count things,especially materials that are familiar to us because it maintains the child’s attention and has more meaning to them.

One technique we are using to accomplish our goal of learning our one to one corrospondence is:

1.) Scanning, where we have the child move their hand over and touch each object as they count out loud.

Here are some samples of the children’s work where they show how they count and show their discoveries by being able to draw it.

As all this counting was going on the children compared the tiles to stars and this is where we have began an exploration about stars. Below are some drawings of what starts look like in the sky. Check back to see all that has happened with this new exploration.

## Color Mixing

The children came to the easel eager to paint, realizing that the paint needed to be set out.  They grabbed ice cube trays, and began assisting the teacher in choosing what colors should be placed in the tray.

The colors chosen provide an opportunity to create secondary colors.  As the children began mixing and stirring the paint, they were able to see new colors evolve.

They spent time observing the colors other children were making.  This led to the children asking questions like,

“I want that color!”

“How did you make that color?”

These questions provided an opportunity for the children to evaluate what they did.

– What colors did they use to create the secondary color
–  How much of the colors did they use.  What what the main color, and what was added.  We have spent time describing colors as “strong” and “weak”.  The weak color, for example yellow or white, only needs a dab of red or blue to change the color to pink or green.
– How do they get the same shade as the previous child

These questions also provided an opportunity for the child who created the color to “explain”, “give directions”, and “describe” HOW to make the color.  This is valuable in our curriculum, because our children are growing up in a world where they need to be able to communicate successfully.

As they continued to paint one of the children brought attention to the color she created.  She said, “Look!  I made this color, but I don’t know what it is called.”

Other children came to join the discussion, and by the end of the conversation, they decided the name was “teal”.

After this discovery, all of the painting she did, was solely with “teal”.  This showed her accomplishment!  She had pride in her discovery and no other color compared to the “teal” she had just created!

THE ART OF TEACHING IS THE ART OF ASSISTING DISCOVERY – Mark Van Doren

## Food as a Language

The wonderland children have been working on color mixing with paint. For their food as a language, we provided them with a fruit provocation with the idea that color mixing could be incorporated. The children began to discuss whether each item was a fruit or a vegetable. They all hypothesized that if something was a vegetable it would not have any juice. They were all amazed when green juice came out of the juicer after the broccoli was inserted! This in turn, made everyone change their mind, lol! Now we know that vegetables DO make juice ;0)
We counted strawberries, read the names of the fruits/vegetables, and then we analyzed the volume of the juices. The children placed them in the order of greatest to least.