Shoes for a Three-Legged Bird (Age 5)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Addition: Book: Double Play: Monkeying Around with Addition by B. Franco.
  2. Topics: Addition, Games: The kids took turns tossing two or three beanbags onto a large piece of poster board with numbered regions.  They then had to add up the numbers of the regions their beanbags landed on, using Base Ten Blocks if they wanted to.
  3. Topics: Pigeonhole Principle, Probability:  I had a bag with 12 “shoes” (colored glass beads), 4 shoes each in 3 different colors.  We first discussed how many draws from the bag it would take to get a pair of matching shoes.  Each kid took turns drawing until they god a pair.  Then, for each number of draws, we talked about whether it was impossible, possible, or certain to get a pair.  We then repeated the whole process for a three-legged bird.
  4. Topics: Latin Squares, Puzzles:  Using pieces from Qwirkle, I made sets of 9 tiles using 3 colors and 3 shapes (so there was one of each possible combination).  Each kid got one set.  First, they had to arrange them in a 3×3 square so that each row had matching colors and each column had matching shapes.  Then, they had to arrange them so no row or column had any duplicate shapes or colors.  After they solved this, then we combined 4 of the sets to make a 36 tile set with 6 colors and 6 shapes.  Working together they had to try to build both the matching and mismatching arrangement.
  5. Topics: Alphabet, Sorting:  This was a repeat from last week, I gave each kid one random letter and they had to arrange themselves in alphabetical order.

How Did It Go?

We had four kids this week.  It was a fairly calm circle, all the kids concentrated on all the activities.

Monkey Doubling

This book is about the right level for them, they understand the idea of addition but 9+9 is still a bit hard.

Beanbag Addition

The kids liked this game quite a bit, we ended up playing for almost half of circle.  For some of the kids, I wrote down the problem they needed to solve after they tossed their beanbags, others wrote it themselves.  Most, but not all, of them knew how to write two-digit numbers.  They did better than I expected at addition — they’re all comfortable with how addition works now.  Some used blue blocks, one used fingers.  They still have some trouble counting reliably though, so there were some mistakes.  By the end they were all adding up three numbers.  Our son is really advanced at calculation, so he did multiplied his numbers instead.

Matching Shoes

The kids liked drawing the beads out of the bag and would have gladly done another round (we did two full rounds, one for the 2 shoe problem, the other for the 3 shoe).  We got a good distribution of number of draws before getting a pair/triple, and a couple of the kids were able to sort of explain why 3/6 was the most you could get without a match, so they got the right answers to impossible/possible/definitely by the end.

Latin Squares

After I gave them their sets, I said they could look at their tiles for a bit (I didn’t explain anything about what was on them); during that time, one of the kids solved the first problem (matching rows/columns) on their own!  The mismatching problem (technically, it’s probably a “double” Latin square, I suppose?) was quite a bit harder, but most of the kids were able to solve it without help; the final kid got help from the other kids.  After we joined together the sets, it turned out that getting the matching 6×6 square was harder than expected, there were a number of mistakes (always a mistake in shapes, not colors, primarily because they were going row-by-row and the matching colors were in the rows).  But they got this eventually without help.  The 6×6 Latin square is really tricky, I’m not sure the older circle can solve it; the little kids placed about 18 tiles before giving up.  It was much harder for them to figure out what was legal at any given spot than for 3×3.

Alphabet Sorting

The kids like this activity a lot.  The first time they got L, M, N, and T, and ended up M, L, N, T.  Like last week, I checked by singing the song and tapping heads as I sang; and they realized they needed to switch L and M right away.  The second one they got right on the first try.


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