Captain Invincible and the Magformers (Age 5)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Geometry:  Book: Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes by S. Murphy.
  2. Topic: Geometry:  Each kid made a cube, rectangular prism, pyramid, and tetrahedron using Magformers.
  3. Topics: Numbers, Games:  We played the higher/lower guessing game from 1-100, with each kid taking turns having the secret number.  Rules summary: each of the other kids, in turn, guessed a number and the kid with the secret number said whether the secret number was higher or lower.  There was no guess limit, but we didn’t use any visual aides to keep track of the information so far so it wasn’t trivial to win.
  4. Topics: Geometry, Tangrams:  I had 6 not-too-hard to-scale tangram diagrams.  The kids each solved as many individually as they could.
  5. Topic: Numbers:  We practiced making moderate size numbers (e.g. 63) using Base Ten Blocks (each kid made their own).  I also made a number and asked the kids what it was.  Finally, each kid made a challenge number for me to count, using as many blocks as they wanted.

How Did It Go?

We had three kids this week.  This circle went very well, all the kids paid attention the whole time.

Captain Invincible

Not very complicated mathematically but with interesting pictures.

Magformer Solids

Except for our son who has played with Magformers quite a bit, it took them a bit of time to get the hang of it.  But once they started, all the kids were able to make each of the shapes.


The kids have been getting much better at number sense; I had them tell me the secret number each time so I could check their answers, but I hardly ever had to correct the answer of the secret holder.  On the other hand, their guessing sophistication varied quite a bit.  One kid could easily solve 1-100 puzzles on their own, keeping track of the bounds so far.  Another kid often, but not always, made good guesses.  The final kid frequently guessed numbers outside of the current range, often far outside.  For 1-100, these guesses didn’t distract the other kids too much.  After we had done two full rounds of secret numbers (6 games total), I did a secret number between 1-1000.  One of the kids was capable of winning had they been playing on their own; but this time, the non-useful guesses kept “resetting” the current progress, and they weren’t ever able to win.  One of the kids kept guess numbers between 100 and 200, even after they knew the answer was between 700 and 800.


I was afraid this was going to be terribly hard and the kids would give up; but actually, they were pretty good at it!  I often had to give a small hint, but generally only one hint per puzzle.  They each finished at least 4 of the 6 puzzles.  They also enjoyed this quite a bit, so we’ll probably do it again soon.

Base Ten Numbers

This also was better than previous times, although it’s still a bit tricky switching from counting by 10’s on the rods to counting by 1’s on the cubes.  The challenge problems for me ranged from 69 to 382.


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