Monsters, Bears, and Division

The Activities

1. Topic: Prime Numbers. Book: You Can Count On Monsters by Schwartz. This is one of our family’s favorite books. Each page shows a number, starting with 1, and then if the number is prime, there is a picture of a new ‘monster’ representing that number. If the number is composite, the picture shows the factor monsters squished together.

A.  Read the first 15 or so pages of the book.  Count the dots, and look at the picture to see if the page is for a new prime monster, or which factor monsters are in the picture.

B. Give the kids print outs of the 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 monsters. They can glue the numbers onto the paper to make their own composite number. When they are done, multiply all the factors together and tell the kid the number the made.

My son gluing monsters.

My son gluing monsters.

My son's finished picture.

My son’s finished picture.

2. Topic: Numberline, Number Recognition.  Number guessing. The kids get seven guesses to get my number, which is between 1 and 40.  For example, they may guess 25, and I would say, “No, it’s lower than 25.”.   We had a number line on the table so the kids could cross off the numbers that are not possible.

The theme of this game was a bear who wants to steal our picnic food. If you don’t get the number in time, he steals one snack.

The bear is racing toward the snacks!

The bear is racing toward the snacks!

3. Topic: Symmetry, Division. Book: Rabbit and Hare Divide an Apple by Ziefert.  This is a funny book where two bunnies try to divide food evenly, while a ‘helpful’ raccoon eats it up.

4. Topic: Symmetry, Division. Divide a geometric shape into equal pieces. For example, divide a square in half, or in 4 pieces.

How did it go?

We had just 3 kids this week…Everyone behaved pretty well, though my son had to sit out briefly for telling another kid to ‘shut up’.

You Can Count on Monsters

The kids all enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing which monsters were on each page.  They also liked counting the dots on the page to make sure it matched the number.  After about 15 pages, they started to get restless, so we skipped to the end of the book, since one kid wanted to know what the biggest number in the book was.

The kids also liked making the monster picture. Each kid had a different style. My son just glued every monster he could reach onto the page. Another kid glued on 12 three monsters, and the last one folded the paper carefully and glued on just 4 monsters.

As the kids finished, I used Google to multiply together all their factors. The numbers ranged from 175 to 1.1 billion.

Number Guessing to Save the Picnic

The kids like the excitement of the bear sneaking up to get the snacks.  This activity was really good number recognition and numberline practice for them. For example, if I say the number is higher than 15, then what numbers do you cross off the numberline?

The kids did not have any strategy for how to quickly find my number. The numbers ranged from 1 – 40.  One round started with one kid guessing 40, and the next kid guessing 1.  None of them noticed that those questions weren’t very helpful.  I did later point out when a guess allowed us to cross off lots of numbers. Eventually they’ll see strategy, but for now they’re just getting used to numbers.

Symmetry and Division

The kids enjoyed this activity, and did some interesting things like splitting a triangle non-symmetrically.


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