Snakes + Math

The children began to sit at the play dough table and manipulate the dough.  Although there were materials presented to them, one child began to roll the dough out and said, “I made a snake!”

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This became an invitation for the rest of the children to create “snakes” …………….

First we talked about the specific color of the snakes.  All of the snakes we made were yellow, and this began the discussion…..

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“What color are our snakes?”

“How many snakes did we make?”

“Which snakes are big?  Which snakes are little?”

The children all engaged in the conversation, explaining their work, or counting out loud to show their pride in the amount they were making.  It became part of the work to count the total as more were added to the bunch.

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As soon as the yellow play dough was finished, the teacher held up another bag “Orange!”  “Now let’s make orange snakes!”

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The excitement that happened with the yellow snakes, attracted new children to the table.  Some would stare from a distance, move in closer and then participate.  Counting the total, was still a requirement according to the children!

Next color……………….”purple!”

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Again, a repetition of what had occurred with the yellow and orange.  If some of the children did not roll the dough out completely to look like a “snake”, the other children explained to that child how to roll it out more and showed them with their own dough.

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Communication and giving direction is something we value very much for our children.  We want them to be strong communicators throughout their lives.  Allowing them the opportunity to create, explain, and model for their piers reinforces these skills.

Math was heavily reinforced during this project.  Counting over and over again, as we added more snakes to our bunch helped the children count to higher numbers and associate numbers to amounts.  This helps with estimation, one-to-one correspondence, and number recognition.

Open ended materials are used in most of our provocations at our school.  The possibilities are endless for what academic avenue we will endure.

Our children will continue this exploration in the atelier. A blog will soon be posted to reflect on the experience.

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