How Many Kittens?

The Activities

  1. Topic: Even and Odd: Book: Even or Odd? by J. Mattern.
  2. Topic: Even and Odd: Using one color of glass beads, I took out various numbers of beads between 1 and 10, asked them how many there were, and then asked one of the kids to say whether it was odd or even, and prove it (by grouping it into pairs).
  3. Topic: Venn Diagrams: I selected some random attribute blocks and cut out two large posterboard rings.  I started using only one ring, and said “Put all the blue shapes inside the ring.”  Then I cleared everything, and said “Put all the thin shapes inside.”  After a few of those, I asked more complicated ones, like “Put all the red triangles inside.”  I also asked what was left over outside the ring for each one.  Then, I added a second ring (NOT overlapping the first), and had instructions for both rings.  I started with disjoint things (one ring is thick, one is thin), but the final few they overlapped (e.g., one ring is red, the other is triangles).  I didn’t point out they might need to overlap the rings, they had to figure that out themselves.IMG_1197
  4. Topic: Combinations: I gave each kid a sheet with 12 uncolored kittens; each kitten has a large bow (download here).  I gave them each 6 crayons, 3 for the body (black, brown, yellow) and 3 for the bow (red, green, blue).  I asked them to color as many different kittens as they could.  After they had been going a while, I cut out unique cats from each kid and taped them to the wall until we had all of them.IMG_1196
  5. Topics: Place Values, Counting, Numbers: I first introduced the kids to Base Ten Blocks. We went through ones, tens, and a hundreds, I showed them that 10 ones = 1 ten bar, 10 ten bars = 1 hundred square, 10 hundred squares = 1 thousand cube.  We also practiced counting by tens and hundreds.  After that, I had each kid choose up to 9 each of ones, tens, and hundreds, and then as a group we looked at each one and figured out how much it was.
  6. Topic: Ordering: Book: Henry the Fourth by S. Murphy and S. Nash.
  7. Topic: Sorting: First, I gave each kid a tile with a number from 1-5 on it and had them sort themselves in a line against the wall by their numbers.  Next, I took the 2 and 4 and replaced them with 8 and 11.  After that, I had them sort themselves by height, number of letters in their name, age, hair color (lightest to darkest), and hand size.

How Did It Go?

All five kids attended.  It was a good circle, all the kids concentrated most of the time.

Even or Odd?

A very simple book, it explains clearly what even and odd mean and then has examples.  None of the kids knew what even and odd meant, but they picked it up quickly.

Even or Odd, pt. 2

I gave each kid one chance to say whether some number of beads was odd or even.  Almost everything was easy for them, except 1.  The definition in the book was that even means you can group into pairs, and odd was that if you grouped into pairs, you’d have one left over.  Since 1 involves having zero pairs, it’s rather tricky.

Venn Diagrams

All the kids helped put things in the circles.  One tricky question was “What’s left?” in the case where you had multiple attributes, e.g. “All blue thin shapes in the ring.”  When we got to overlapping attributes, we had the nice interaction where kids put things back and forth between the two circles.  After a little while one of the kids suggested putting it in the middle so it overlapped both circles; I then moved the circles so there was an overlap.  The kids got the concept of the overlapping circles pretty quickly.

Cat Combinations

Two of the kids got 4 unique kittens fairly quickly.  One kid colored the same combination three times in a row, then got a new one.  Another kid was distracted watching the other kids and only finished one.  The last kid didn’t finish any.  Between the kids, they got all 9 pretty quickly.

Base Ten Blocks

Most of the kids didn’t know how to count by tens or hundreds, but once I started doing it they were able to recognize the pattern and join in.  Figuring out what 3-digit number corresponded to some number of 1’s, 10’s, and 100’s was pretty hard, only one of them was able to do it consistently.

Henry the Fourth

Very simple book about ordinal numbers, but I had the kids to the actions the dogs were doing, which was fun.

Kid Sorting

They were better than I expected at the first two activities, partly because one of the kids took charge and helped people find the right places to stand.  They did pretty well on the heights as well.  For ages, they sorted by year without problems, but two of them didn’t know their birthdays, and had to go ask their parents.  Some of the kids understood that an earlier birthday meant you were older, others didn’t.  Hair color (lightest to darkest) was pretty funny, they had no idea.  One of them said right away “My hair is dark” and stood on the dark side; but he probably had the lightest hair. And the one with the darkest hair was in the place that should have been lightest.  Hand size was also hard but they did ok.


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