X Marks the Refrigerator

The Activities

  1. Topic: Maps: Book: Treasure Map by Murphy
  2. Topic: Maps: Map drawing.
    1. Show the kids a map of the living + dining room. 

      My map of our living room.

    2. Have the kids tape pictures on the map where their parents are sitting.
    3. Have the kids draw a map of the kitchen.
  3. Topic: Probability: Charts: Probability race. This activity is from “Math from Three to Seven” by Alexander Zvonkin. The kids have chart with the numbers 1 – 14 on it. The kids roll two dice and mark down the sum in the chart. The first number to be rolled 5 times wins.

    A probability race, filled in by the kids.

    1. Split kids into pairs and have them do one or two races, to remember how they work.
    2. Tape all the races onto the wall to see what they look like. Ask the kids if they notice anything about the winners of the race. Ask why some numbers win the race more than others?
    3. Show them the 6×6 sums chart and how to fill it in.

      Fill in this chart with sum of the row and columns.

    4. Which number appears most often in the chart?


We printed out a bunch more race charts, and the 6×6 chart.  I drew a poster board map of the living room.

How did it go?

Map Drawing

My daughter immediately identified the map as a picture of the living room.  She was able to name parts of the room like the dining room table by just looking at the map.  Then I had each kid take a boy or a girl head, representing any family members that came with them to circle today, and asked them to tape them on the map where the people really were.

I told the kids they would now draw their own maps, and they cheered.  But when they found out I wanted a map of the kitchen, they were worried. Eventually kids put various things on their map: the table, island, sink, stove, refrigerator.  It was surprisingly hard to do, and I had to start mine over because I put the counter in the wrong place.  The kids weren’t very aware of whether their pictures were in the right place or not, but they all gave it a try.  Many of the kids didn’t want to stop adding details to their maps, so I promised to send the maps home with them.  One kid wanted to draw a map of our whole house.  I suggested she could draw a map of her own home after circle.

Probability Race

We’ve done this activity 3 or 4 times before, but never used the 6×6 chart to see the possible outcomes of a roll.

4 races were completed today and 8 won 3 of them.  I put the new races up on the wall along with a few other old races I found.  

I asked how many times 8 won the race (4 times).  How about 2?  They all looked carefully at the races on the wall.  Never!

Why do some numbers win the race more than others? They didn’t know.

I gave each kid their own 6×6 chart.  I demonstrated how to fill in a box and what it meant, and asked them to fill it out.  They all needed quite a bit of help understanding which number belongs in which box. Several of the kids noticed patterns when filling out the chart.

As the kids finished, I gave them a blank paper and asked them to write down how often each number appeared in the chart.  The charts they made were fascinating.

One kid wrote “2” on the top of her paper, and circled it. Then she wrote ‘1’ under it, since 2 appears one time.  Next she wrote circled 3, with a 2 under it, and so on.  

Two of the other kids had very artistic charts. I’m not sure if they copied from each other or each came up with it separately.  They first wrote ‘2’, and then right next to it a ‘1’ (so it looked like 21). Then they drew a box around the 21 and then added a 32 in a randomly sized connecting box. This made it very hard to read their charts.

One kid made a beautiful chart going down the side like this:

  • 2 – 1
  • 3 – 2
  • 4 – 3

Then I asked how come some numbers came up more often than others.  One kid explained “Some numbers have more ways to get them so they’re more likely to come up.”  So I asked how come 2 had never won.  And the kid said it was very unlikely since there was only one way to get a 2.


Mobius Crying

The Activities

  1. Topic: Comparisons: Book: More or Less by Murphy.
  2. Topic: Logic: Comparison: Play ‘twenty questions’ with numbers, similar to the book.  
  3. Topic: Counting: Addition: Use the Base Ten Blocks.  First review the blocks: a single block counts as 1, a bar counts as 10, a square is 100, and a cube is 1000.
    1. Count by 10s to 100.  
    2. Count by fives to 100.
    3. Show them the number 23 (two rods and 3 blocks), and ask them to tell what number it is.      
    4. Show them 65, and ask them what number it is.
    5. Have them add together 23 and 65.
  4. Topic: Geometry: Mobius strip and cylinders.
    1. First the kids color one side of a strip of paper (light color).
    2. Make a cylinder. Observe one color on outside/inside.  Trace a line around inside and inside (separate colors).
    3. Cut the cylinder in half, see that it makes 2 short cylinders.
    4. Color another piece of paper, and make a mobius strip. Observe there is no outside or inside.  Draw a line around it. Just one line will cover all surfaces of it.

      A mobius strip made of paper.

    5. Cut the mobius strip in half (lengthwise), observe the halves are connected.  Cut in half again and see the connected figure 8s.

How did it go?

I thought this would be a fun, easy circle, but my daughter was in a terrible mood.  I had to send her out of the room three different times for whining or crying.  Maybe she was thrown off by the recent time change.

The Base Ten Blocks went well. I gave one kid 1 ten bar and 5 ones, and another kid 3 ten bars and 3 ones.  The kids were able to figure out it was 15 and 33 by counting by 10s, and then adding in the ones.  Next I asked them what 15 + 33 was. One kid solved it by starting at 33 and counting up 15.  Another kid said she couldn’t solve it.  So I combined their 15 and 33 blocks, and asked her to figure it out. Now she counted by tens and found it was 48.

The cylinder/mobius strip activity was fun.  The kids were excited to see that the mobius strip had no inside or outside, and were surprised when we cut down the center of the strip and got 2 tangled mobius strips instead of separate pieces.