Kindergarten Math Manipulatives With Addition

8 Sep

I was so excited to use the blocks that I bought a LONG TIME AGO.  I had no need for them at the time and today was the day that they became useful.  There should be a term for that day.  The day that you end up using that thing you’ve purchased or have been saving because ONE DAY, you’ll wish you had it.  These little wooden blocks that I got for buck were awesome!Instead of teaching the math “formula,” I believe that it’s more important to become familiar with how numbers and concepts work in a more unstructured setting BEFORE learning the formula.  Then, when they make practical sense and the concept has been manipulated in a variety of ways, moving on to the formula not only makes a lot more sense, but it comes a lot easier.  It now has purpose.

Here’s the activity:

I gave him 10 blocks to start.  I just had him write the number 10 on one side of these cards I cut out.Then, he was to come up with two numbers using all the blocks, that made up 10.  This is six and four.There were no addition or equals symbols and it didn’t matter where or how he put the numbers.  This is not a handwriting lesson.  It’s always important to remember the objective and stick to it.  Like many of you, backwards numbers really irritate me!!!  But, as with my other kids, they do eventually turn them around on their own.  It’s just a funny thing kids do because their brains flip it for some reason.  Ever try writing your name as a mirror image?  It’s really hard.  Kids do it all the time.  It’s different than simply writing a word “backwards.”  I’m always amazed when kids write mirror images of words.

For the activity, he just had to provide written evidence that what he knew in his brain could be translated on to paper.  My main objective was for him to practice and understand that a variety of number combinations can have the same value as a particular number.

The numbers below from left to right, 5:5, 8:2, 4:6, 6:4.  On the third card, 4:6, he actually did 4:5.  When I had him “check” it, I had suggested that maybe he could just change the back number to nine since four plus five equals nine.  Instead, he thought it would be more cool to convert the number five to the number six.

After I felt like he was solid with the process, we moved on to number nine.  (Please pretend his fingernails aren’t that long or that dirty.)He intentionally wrote an “e” with an “x” over it to signify that it was a “9” and not an “e.”  That cracked me up.The great thing about doing this is that he was able to create three groups.  Learning that concept on paper would have been a lot more difficult.That translated into three numbers that when combined, have the same value as nine.  Of course, I couldn’t resist a “mini-discussion” about three times three.Here are his numbers that took him to nine.Finally, he wanted 20 blocks and he surprised me.  He did a great job.And he didn’t even realize how much “work” his brain was doing!

Recommended Math Resource:

About Teaching Mathematics: A K-8 Resource, 3rd Edition"" by Marilyn Burns


4 Responses to “Kindergarten Math Manipulatives With Addition”

  1. tmom September 9, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    He’s ahead of the game.Tried to teach that in a first grade class and wished for enough manipulatives to go around. Janell used great buttons for sorting. Everyone had about 50..

    • emmieslineuponline September 9, 2011 at 10:51 PM #

      I love using buttons! I inherited a gallon ziploc of huge ones. they are the best.

      • kai-lan September 10, 2011 at 7:38 AM #

        Love that. I can’t wait to try it with Kinderkid.

  2. emmieslineuponline September 10, 2011 at 2:28 PM #

    oooh. i might use that, kinderkid.

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