Cross-Out: Sums to 12

Chris asked for a new game yesterday, and I didn’t have one ready (Gasp!) So we made one up together called “cross-out”. This was quick, easy to organize, and he had fun playing it and ‘cheating’.

Materials: white board, dry-erase marker, two dice (we used dot dice, but you can use number cubes to up the level of thinking)

Objective: We played as a team. The goal is to cross-out every sum when rolling two dice (2-12).

How to Play

1. Have your child write the numbers 2-12 on the white board. This is great fine-motor practice!
2. Player 1 rolls the dice and adds up the values. Player 2 crosses out the sum on the board. I rolled a 9, so Chris had to find the 9 and cross it out (see below).
3. Player 2 rolls the dice and adds up the values. Player 1 crosses out the sum on the board. If a sum is already crossed out, continue rolling (and therefore practicing addition and counting on) until you get a sum that you can cross out. No losing turns here!
4. Once your team has crossed-out every sum, you won! Do a silly dance to celebrate your success!

Fun Note:
When we only had the 3 to cross-out, Chris asked if we could change dice to be 0-5 instead of 1-6. “Why?” I asked. “So that I have a better chance of rolling a 3! The only way I can get it is with a 1 and a 2 and that’s tough!” If I had the 0-5 dice at my fingertips, I would have totally given in. This is a great statistics insight for such a tiny human!

He rolled a few more times, got sick of rolling and decided to just roll one die. BAM! First roll he got a 3. He was very proud of his ‘cheating’ scheme!

Differentiation Ideas:

• Use a number cube and a dot die to work on counting on (Level 2).
• Use two number cubes to work on addition rather than one-to-one counting with dots.
• Use cubes that have larger values and work on the teens/twenties. I buy square wooden cubes at a hobby/craft shop and use a Sharpie to make whatever dice I want to use. Easy and cheap!
• Play against each other. Each person could write 2-12 and see who can cross-out their board first.

Tiny Human Perspectives: What About 0?

What is up with 0? It is nothing, nada, zilch. So why spend time thinking about nothing?

While playing a game with dice (labeled 0-5 each), pre-schoolers had no trouble thinking about zero as nothing.

Student (rolls a 0 and 5): 0 and 5 is still 5!

Me: Why is it 5?

Student (now rolling eyes): Because you added nothing to 5, so it stays 5. You didn’t do anything to it! (Duh…Mrs. M!)

Playing the same game in Kindergarten. Out of 20 students, only 2 (one being my son, since he already struggled with it at home and had made some headway with clarifying what happens when you add 0) students were okay not changing the value of the addend when added to 0. The others added at least one more to their addend, or just sat there and said they lost a turn because they got a 0. ????

Why the struggle?

What Can You Do?

Allow you child to play with a die that has a 0. Allow them to make sense of this new phenomena and open their eyes to new learnings about addition. This will help them later, when adding different kinds of numbers (like negatives) results in smaller sums.

Remember, Zero really is a Hero!

Rolling to 100

I had the pleasure of volunteering in my son’s Kinder class for 100 day. She had a great ‘filler’ game that I wanted to adapt and share. This is a great one to take to a restaurant where they hand out crayons!

Materials: 100 chart, one per player (see below for link), die (dot for one-to-one correspondence, numbered for numeral recognition with counting), crayons (at least 2)

Objective: To be the first person to color in all 100 numbers!

How to Play

• Player 1 rolls the die and colors in that many spaces, starting at 1. Player 2 does the same on his/her gameboard. (Example: rolling a 5)
• Player 1 rolls again and, in a different color, colors in that amount. So if I rolled a 2, I would color in the next two squares in a different color. Continue playing until someone reaches 100.

How I would change it

1. Give your child a blank 100 grid and have him/her fill it in for writing practice. Then use their board to play.
2. Change out the dice as your child grows in his/her number sense. Using larger numbers will create patterns and encourage counting by larger groups instead of by ones.
3.  We are going to play to 20 and write the addition sentences on a whiteboard.         So 5 + 2=7 for the last play.  Also you could relate to counting on. Start at ______ move forward ______. I am now at _______. Starting at numbers other than 1 or 0 to count is a BIG DEAL!
4. We are going to start at 100 (or 20) and go backwards to roll to 0! Counting backwards is just as important as counting forwards!
5. Find the values. After Chris finishes up his very crumply 100 chart, he is going to guess my number. Example: My number is blue and is bigger than 23 but less than 26. Guess my number!

War!(HUH!) What is it good for? (Absolutely lots in Math!)

With my family on the go so much during the non-lazy days of summer, we need easy games to entertain the tiny humans that don’t require mass amounts of attention from the adults (who are often in conversation). Enter the game of War. This versatile game can be used for all age groups and can really keep your child’s skills in arithmetic in check during the “summer slump”.

How to Play (Basic Version)

1. Grab a deck of cards (I keep one in my purse and in the car at all times). You don’t have to, but I prefer to take out the face cards and jokers. Shuffle the rest and divvy out to all who are playing.
2. All players shove all of their cards into a “deck” and keeps the deck face down.
3. All players (at the same time to avoid cheating) flip the first card. The player with the largest value is the winner and takes all of the cards in the round.
4. If there is a tie (that is the largest value), those players place 3 cards on their original face down and flip the fourth card. Whichever player NOW has the largest value gets all of the cards from the round.
5. Continue playing until either a) one player has all of the cards; or b) you get sick of playing. The player with the most cards is the winner.

• For younger players: Use only 2-5 from the decks and play with those. The game goes faster and they are working only with 2, 3, 4, and 5. You can use the aces as 1. Even better, use number cards or dot cards (see below for links). Print on cardstock (4 cards per number) or go online and buy a set.
• For any age: You can also play and whoever gets the smallest value wins. This is great for preK-1st graders!
• For students who need review with addition: Play two cards at a time and add them. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
• For students who need review with multiplication: Play two cards at a time and multiply them. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
• For grades 5-7: red cards are negative values; black cards are positive values. Flip over one card. If I have a red 6 and you have a black 2, you are the winner since positive values are always greater than negatives.
• For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and add them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest sum is the winner of the round.
• For grades 6-8 (or 7-8 if using Common Core): Play two cards and multiply them, using reds as negatives and blacks as positives. The player with the largest product is the winner of the round.
• For grades 6-8, use only values ace (for 1) through 5. Flip the first card; that is your base. Flip the second card; that is your exponent. The player with the highest value wins  the round.

Different Sets of Cards:

• You could probably look on Amazon for different card types, but I love the sets at 52 Pickup. They are of high quality and there are many different types ranging from dot cards to ten frames to cards that go through the thousands (so you can work on place value!)

https://sumboxes.com/collections/types?q=52%20Pickup%20Card%20Decks

How Many Are Hiding?

This is a great game for tiny humans in need of some entertainment while waiting at a restaurant. Just make sure to ask for an extra children’s cup to play.

Age Level: 3-6 year olds

Materials: children’s plastic cup (any cup will do, just not transparent), a set of objects (I used goldfish for the example, as that was what was in my purse! Other options are pennies, beans, tiny annoying toys, etc.)

How to Play: Place out a certain number of ‘stuff’. Normally for me, it is however many I have in my purse! I would recommend starting with 5 or less, see how they do, and adjust as needed. The first time I played with my 5 year old, we started with 10 and it was quite frustrating for him. They catch on and you can up the number as they grow!

1. Have your child count how many there are.
2. Have your child close his/her eyes. Hide some of the objects under the cup.
1. How many do you see?
2. If there were _________ to start with, how many are hiding?
4. Allow your child to check their answer by lifting the cup.
1. How many were hiding?
2. How many were out?
3. How many in all? (Woah! It is the same as what we started with! Weird!)
6. Switch who hides and who plays.

Why play? Aside from counting one-by-one and ‘holding’ that number in their heads, students need lots of practice understanding that a number can represent an amount. That amount can be broken into parts (decomposed), but when we put them together (add them) they make the original number we had. This is part of the idea of conservation, which is critical for young mathematicians to understand (not the word but the idea) in order to add and subtract numbers.

Special thanks to my tiny human for playing this morning! Love ya, bud!

Beyond Counting: Ideas and Activites For Your Little Ones

While waiting for his big brother at the orthodontist, my little boy, C,  had the following conversation…

Dr. T: How old are you, cutie?

C: I’m three!

Dr. T: How old is your brother (pointing towards my thirteen year old)

C: Four!

This was such a proud mama moment for me!

Now you may ask yourself, “Why is she getting all excited over this? Clearly, he is not four. Why is she so proud of her little boy?”

There are a number of reasons why this is a critical step towards numeracy. I truly believe that if you start children purposefully thinking about numbers early on, their chance for success in mathematics increases dramatically. So let’s highlight a few of the big ideas C is working towards.

1. Cardinality– This is the idea that the number being used is measuring some amount. It answers the question, “How many?” For example, I can ask my son, “How many bears do you see?” He would count them one by one until he got to the number six. That last number, 6, tells you the number of bears in the set. This is a big deal! The child is no longer counting from memorization; he is recognizing that the number relates to a certain amount of “things”. The more things you have, the further you have to count. C recognized that his brother was older (or “bigger”). Therefore, his brother was tagged to a number after the one he identified with, three. He did not know how many more to go, just that he had to choose a number beyond his own. Cool.

2. Inclusion– This is the idea that the number labeling “how many objects” in a group includes all of the preceding numbers. So even though we have six bears, we can also think of it as “one and some more”, “two and some more”, “three and some more”, and so on. This is critical for addition and subtraction. If I have the number 14, I can think about it as “ten and four more”, which helps me when I want to add or subtract and regroup to make the problem easier. C knew that his brother was older, and therefore had to include his age (three) and some more. Again, he isn’t at the point of knowing how much more, but is on his way. Awesome.

3. Magnitude– The size of the object. In this case, a number (or value) given to a quantity (age) for the purpose of comparing with another quantity. This idea is instrumental for estimation, particularly with very large and very small numbers. In fact, one of the posts requested of me to write is helping students compare fractions. If a child does not know the relative size of the number they are considering then it is very difficult to compare, operate or manipulate it with any real fluency or number sense. How do I know my answer is reasonable if I haven’t a clue what the numbers I am working with represent??? For C, he was able to recognize that his brother had to be a larger quantity than three, because he is older. Super rad!

These three ideas are certainly related, but each has a different feel. You can work with them simultaneously, so long as there is purpose to the questions and tasks you present to your kids. Below are some simple, but powerful, activities you can play with your little ones to build these concepts. I choose the games that you can take on the road, to the doctor’s office, to a restaurant, etc. Instead of sitting around being squirrelly, play a game while you wait. Even five minutes will have a significant impact!

1. Count and Check: Grab a handful of ANYTHING (balls, pennies, beans, cheerios, etc) and ask your child to count how many. Make sure the amount of objects is appropriate. (For example, C is working on objects through 5.) When he finishes counting the last object, ask, “How many _____ are there?” If he cannot answer, that is okay! He is working towards cardinality. He is able to say the objects one by one (which is called one to one correspondence), but hasn’t figured out that the last number he says represents the entire amount. Have him count again, and ask again. If he cannot answer again, say, “There are (say the amount) ______ here.”  You can play this at the grocery store (count the apples, bananas, etc), setting the table (How many forks?), etc.

2. Match Me! Grab a die (one dice) and a handful of ANYTHING in a baggie. (I typically do this with pennies at restaurant.) Have your child roll the die. Let’s say she rolls a five. She takes out that many pennies and lays them out for you to see. Ask her to count them one-by-one to make sure she has five. At the end ask, “How many pennies do you have?” If she doesn’t know, that is okay! Have her recount, then ask again. If she still isn’t able to tell you, say, “I see you have five pennies.” Make sure you roll next and model for your child. Take turns until you get bored or dinner comes!

To bring the difficulty up, after playing each of these, ask, “If I gave you one more item, how many would you have?” This brings in the concepts of magnitude and inclusion! If your child has to recount with one more added in, that is fine! You know he’s got it when he can answer quickly without physically adding in another item and recounting.

Need another level of difficulty? Ask, “If I took away one of the items, how many will be left?” Same idea, but working backwards, and just as important!