Wiggly Princesses

The Activities

  1. Topic: Division: How Hungry Are You? by Napoli
  2. Topic: Pigeonhole Principle: Give the kids 11 dogs and 10 bones. Ask the kids to feed all the dogs.  Once they see there are not enough bones, suggest different ways of feeding the dogs (i.e. yellow dogs with yellow bones, etc), and see how long it takes before they decide it is impossible.  For this, I used colored wooden cubes for the dogs, and paper bones cut out of colored construction paper.
  3. Topic: Counting, Inference: I got this idea from “Math from Three to Seven” by Alexander Zvonkin. Tell the kids a story, and act it out as you go. I used blue poker chips for the princes, and orange chips for the princesses.  The plates were blue or orange construction paper squares.
    1. Once upon a time there were a king and a queen and they had great ball in their castle. They invited many princes and princesses who had lots of fun. The queen wanted to count them but they kept moving and even leaving the room.  (move the chips around if the kids try to count them).  The king had an idea to have the orchestra play music, and the princes and princesses started to dance together. (put the chips in couples). There was one extra prince but he wasn’t sad, he danced by himself.
    2. Are there more princes or princesses?
    3. Then it is time for dinner, the princes and princesses sit down to matching plates…one color for the princes, and different color for the princesses. (put the chips next to corresponding plates). But the food is not ready, so they go outside to play.
    4. The cook wants to make ice cream for the princes and lollypops for the princesses, how many should she make?
  4. Topic: Sets, Shapes: Use the small Attribute Blocks.
    1. Put a large string circle out. Ask the kids to put the following items in the circle:
      1. blue blocks
      2. hexagons
      3. red, thick blocks
      4. thick, triangles
    2. Put out 2 string circles:
      1. thick in one, thin in the other.
      2. squares in one, circles in the other
      3. triangles in one, blue in the other

        The kids’ answer to blue shapes in one circle, triangles in the other.

How did it go?

How Hungry are You?

The book was hard to read because it had so many characters.

Give a Dog a Bone

I gave the kids ‘dogs’ that were different color and sizes of cubes.  The bones were cut from paper.  I asked the kids to give each dog a bone.  They worked together to assign dogs to bones and found there were was one extra dog.  I asked them to try again, and they did, and again one extra.

Both times the leftover dog was a small black cube. I suggested assigning the small black cube first, which they did, but two kids started arguing about who could hold the purple bone.  I ended up taking away that bone and the dog that went with it.  Then we had one extra dog again.  The kids suggested giving the purple bone to it, which I did, but pointed out that I still had the one extra dog.

We tried one more time and still there were too many dogs.  The kids said it was because there were more dogs than bones.  So I asked the kids to count.  The kids are not very good at counting so 2 kids counted and got 10 bones, but they weren’t sure if there were 11 or 12 dogs.  Either way, we agreed there were more dogs than bones.

The Wiggly Princesses

The girls were excited to have princesses and wanted to touch them all.  I told them how the king and queen were wondering if there were more princes or princesses.  The kids suggested counting, but I kept moving the pieces around while they counted. I said they were playing.

One of the kids told the princes and princesses to stay still so they could be counted. She started to count but after a few numbers I started moving the chips again, saying the princes and princesses weren’t listening.

Then I told them the king and queen decided to have a dance, and I said that usually one prince and one princess would dance together.  The kids started arranging the chips into couples. There was some fighting because the girls didn’t want to let go of the orange princess chips.  We found there was one extra prince.  The kids agreed this meant there was one more prince than princess.

Next the cook called everyone to dinner.  I gave a stack of orange and blue paper squares that were the plates.  I asked the kids to give each chip a matching plate.  They went to work, with some arguing. One kid was convinced that the princes and princesses should eat in pairs, but the other kids didn’t care.

Next the cook realized the food wasn’t ready, so the princes and princesses went off to play in the garden.  The kids helped pick up the chips, leaving the plates behind.  The girls only wanted to pick up the orange princess chips. Luckily the boys were willing to pick up the princes.  I took away the chips, and said the cook needed to know how many princes and princesses there were, since he wanted to make ice cream for the princesses and lollypops for the princes…But everyone’s outside!

One kid said we could count the plates, so I had the kids line up the orange and blue squares and count then.  One kid counted the blue plates and got 13. Kid #2 counted 11 orange plates, and Kid #3 counted 12 orange.  Kid #4 said, “Yeah 12 must be right because we know there is one more prince than princess”.

Then the kids put the chips next to their plates so the princes and princesses could have their desserts.  Then we picked everything up with the all the girls fighting to pick up the most princesses, and the boy picking up all the princes.

All the kids were really engaged in this activity and loved the story aspect, and touching all the shapes to tell the story.

Attribute Sets

I got out the small attribute blocks and asked the kids to put all the blue shapes in the circle.  They quickly did it, with little fighting.  I asked if anyone wanted to count and 3 of the girls counted.  Kid #1 is the most dependable counter.  Kid #2 tends to count the same shapes repeatedly, while Kid #3 moves her finger faster than she says the numbers.  We got varying answers from the kids, but we didn’t worry much about it, just picked the number the most kids got.

Next I asked for triangles in the circle.  There were not as many triangles so 2 kids got upset that there was no triangle for them.  I took one back out of the circle and let them put it back in.  Again we counted.

Kid #4 told me it wasn’t fair because she had never gotten to go first at counting, I said was sorry about that.  Kid #5 said she also had never gone first.  So I decided both #4 and #5 could count first right now.  They started counting, and they got very confused since they were both counting at once, and ended up getting 21.  Next Kid #1 counted and got something like 9. Kid #2 said 10 and Kid #3 said 13. Inconclusive.

The kids started getting antsy now, so I said I had a tricky one.  I asked for blue triangles in the circle.  They quickly did this, though someone put a red triangle in, which the other kids said was wrong.

Now I had each kids take a turn with things like: yellow hexagons in the circle, blue and red rectangles in the circle etc.  It seemed pretty easy, though one kid was still not comfortable with the idea of thick vs thin and waited for the other kids to do those.

Again the kids got too excited so I said it would be different now.  I put two circles of string down and asked the kids to put red shapes in one and blue in the other, which they did.  I asked what shapes were not in a circle, and they said yellow ones.

Next I asked for triangles in one circle and blue shapes in the other.  They started doing this but Kid #1 started protesting loudly when someone put a blue triangle with the other triangles, saying “But that’s blue!” She had been working on the blue shapes so was very concerned when the triangle went away.

I had them put it with the triangles and when we were done I pointed to the blue string and asked if all the blue shapes were there.  The kids said yes.  I asked again, are they ALL here?  and then they pointed out the two blue triangles in the other string.  So we moved them to the blue string.

Then I asked if all the triangles were there and they said no, the two blue were not, so we moved them back.  Then Kid #2 said “but now all the blue shapes are not there!” and so everyone laughed as I moved the blue triangle back and forth.  Kid #3 suggested putting the blue triangles in between the two circles, which is what we did.