## The Activities

**Topic: Counting:**Book: Prairie Dogs Perching: Counting By 3s by A. Tourville.**Topics: Numbers, Counting:**We recently bought a 100 tile board, so we did a few activities with it. First, taking turns, I pointed to a number and had the kid say the number. Next, still taking turns, I gave a random number tile to the kid and had them place it on the board. Finally, we used the colored tiles to count by 3’s.

**Topics: Combinatorics, Combinations:**We had print-outs of Easter Eggs with two halves, top and bottom, to color. There were four colors of crayons, you could use the same for top and bottom, and the rule was you couldn’t personally make the same combination twice (it was okay if you repeated what someone else did). Each time someone finished an egg, I taped it to the wall.

**Topics: Reflections, Symmetry:**I had printed out individual squares with letters in large font, and then folded them along a line of symmetry. Taking turns, the kids had to guess what letter it was. We used a hand-mirror to check before I unfolded it (by holding the folded symmetry line flush against the mirror at a 90 degree angle). Then, I drew a couple half shapes (e.g., semi-circle) on a piece of paper and asked each kid to draw a completed reflection. We discussed the several different ways to reflect each shape. Finally, each kid drew their own shape which I reflected in the mirror.

**Topic: Counting: Book:**How Many Sharks in the Bath? by B. Gillham. Each page had 4 counting problems, and a place on the right with numbers 0-10 so you could point to your answer, so I did “counting twister” where one by one 4 different kids answered the questions and then held their finger on the answer.**Topic: Programming:**We did “Dance Programming” with 4 instructions: Jump, Up, Down, and Spin. The kids stood in a line facing me, and I explained each of the instructions. Then, I gave them sequences of up to 4 instructions, which they did (sometimes I did it as well, but not always so they couldn’t just copy me). Next, I introduced the idea of functions and gave them two, “Moopsy” which was “Jump, Jump, Jump”; and “Floopsy”, “Spin, Down, Up”. I then gave them some programs including these two functions plus basic instructions. Finally, each kid gave me a program with up to 5 instructions that I had to do.

## How Did It Go?

All 5 kids attended. There was a bit of “when will circle be done?” after the egg coloring, but they liked the reflections and dance programming enough that it stopped after that.

#### Prairie Dog Counting

There was a lot of counting by 3’s in this book, I had the kids count along with me on many of the pages.

#### 100 Tile Board

The kids are in pretty different places on recognizing, saying, and finding numbers above 20. Some don’t know to say “fifty-four” for 54, saying “five four” instead. Most of them didn’t realize that the rows went by tens, in increasing order; and most don’t have the sense that 84 is large and 18 is small. But they were all happy to try and find the numbers on the board, so this activity went well, and they were improving as we went on. After we had done two rounds of placing random tiles on the board, I gave them each 3 to place on the board (and then gave more to the kids who finished first). The skip counting also was pretty helpful, some of the kids who have trouble counting by 3’s in the air were able to do it on the board.

#### Easter Egg Coloring

The kids got the idea right away. After a while, a couple of them started looking for eggs that were new on the wall (as opposed to just making sure they were new for themselves). In the end we got 13 different eggs out of 16, not bad. They seemed to understand the difference between top red/bottom blue and top blue/bottom red. We also got a few “rainbow eggs” that didn’t follow the rules — I made the mistake of taping those to the wall in a different place, which didn’t discourage making them.

#### Reflections

At first, for each letter, after the kid guessed I would first show it held up against the mirror, then unfold it. They were all surprisingly good at this activity, and we got through a whole pile of ~ 20 letters. They also were pretty good at completing the shapes that I drew. 4 kids completed a semi-circle as a circle, the 5th reflected vertically. I drew half a diamond, which was harder — most of the kids drew a triangle, while one drew an X. I also drew a random shape which was harder still, but several of the kids successfully reflected it. The kids were not as into drawing their own shapes as I expected, and they mostly didn’t get the idea of drawing half shapes (so, for example, one shape was a house, rather than a half-house).

#### How Many Sharks in the Bath?

Since the kids were doing the counting, each page took a little while; so we only did about half the book. It was interesting watching the kids arrange themselves so they could all touch their numbers at the same time.

#### Dance Programming

Everyone liked this activity and followed along with the instructions; some of them were definitely able to follow successfully, but some may have been copying other kids. Similarly, some of them understood the functions, but probably not all. I got a little dizzy doing the kids’ programs :).

## 2 thoughts on “Jump, Jump, Floopsy!”