How Much For The Whaleshark? (Age 6)

The Activities

1. Topic: Money: Book: Follow the Money! by L. Leedy.
2. Topics: Money, Addition, Subtraction: I ran a “store” where the kids could (pretend) buy various small toys.  Each round, I gave each kid 4 or 5 “dollars” (play money), and then they chose something to buy and payed me for it.  Some things cost more than \$5, so if they wanted to buy them they had to buy something cheap so they’d have enough next round.  We did three rounds, then reset.  The second run through, I paid them using \$5 bills so they had to make change.  The third run through, I had them keep track on a “ledger” in addition to paying me with physical play money.
3. Topics: Counting, Sorting: We repeated the activity where the kids sorted dominoes according to the sum of the spots.  I gave them 6 dominoes to start, and gave them 3 more at a time when they finished.  I went up to dominoes with 9 spots on each side.  One of the kids has learned his times tables, so he sorted by product instead.  After we used up all the dominoes, I had the kids sort the entire set (by sum).

How Did It Go?

We had all five kids this week.

This book didn’t have a ton of math, but it did show making change a number of times.  It also introduced the various dominations and was a nice introduction to the next activity.

Play Store

The kids got the hang of buying things quickly.  However, they weren’t very good at making change — I think several of the kids didn’t ever quite understand what it meant.  Also, some of them can’t do subtraction, so they also couldn’t do it directly.  That is, if you have a 5 dollar bill and need to pay \$3, either you can make change into ones and pay 3 of them, or you can subtract 3 and get back 2.  Some of the kids didn’t understand either; some understood the change method, and some understood both.  The ledger was also a challenge for many of them, both because they didn’t know subtraction and they didn’t understand how it related to paying for things.  A few got it, but at best the others understood the mechanics but not the meaning.  So we can definitely explore more both the ideas of making change and keeping track of quantities using a running tally.

After we finished the money activity, I had each kid make up a story about a simple math problem.  For example, I would write “3 + 2” and they would say “There were 3 birds sitting on a branch, and then 2 more came, so there were 5 birds”.  Some of the kids closely followed earlier stories, but we got several different types of stories by the end.

Sorting Dominoes

The kids were pretty good at this.  All of them were able to finish on their own, with only a few mistakes here and there.  They even handled the 9 spot dominoes pretty well.  For the group sorting, it took them a while to get organized, but once they had at least one domino in each position they made faster progress.  Not everyone participated the whole time but they all contributed.