Thursday, March 31, 2011

One is a snail, Ten is a Crab

Author April Pulley Sayre has written a book that takes the classic "counting by feet" problem to a whole new level. Beautiful illustrations of beach scenes depict various sea creatures. In the beginning the reader is simply counting by the number of legs in each scene. After the initial introductions, we see different combinations of legs that help us count up to 100.

Teaching Tips:
The scenario lends itself to a rich problem-solving experience where student can write and exchange original problems based on the book characters. You can find other teaching ideas and sample student work related to this book in the Teaching Children Mathematics article, Legs, Legs, Legs by David and Phyllis Whitin. In my humble opinion David and Phyllis are the math and literature gurus and can always be counted on for rich ideas that work great in the classroom. I've included one of their teaching resources below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Very Improbable Story

One of the most difficult math concepts to teach young children is probability. A Very Improbable Story by Edward Einhorn is a great tool for helping children understand the idea of chance through a funny, fanciful, 'improbable' story.

For the presentation of probability concepts to younger students I recommend Probably Pistachio by Stuart Murphy.

Teaching Tip:

With young children we want to begin with the language of probability: likely, unlikely, certain and impossible. Give them many experiences categorizing events according to these four labels.