- Topic: Puzzles: Book: Taro Gomi’s Playful Puzzles for Little Hands by T. Gomi. We did the first 10-15 puzzles.
- Topic: Probability: I had a cloth bag and two colors of glass beads, red and green. Secretly, I chose four total beads and put them in the bag (3 red and 1 green). The kids took turns drawing out one bead at a time, checking its color, and putting it back. After the kids had done this a couple times each, I had them guess how many green and red there were (I told them there were four total). We did that again, with 4 green this time. Finally, I took another bag, filled bag A with 8 green and 2 red, bag B with 2 green and 8 red, and had them try to figure out (using the same draw one and put back) which bag had more green beads.
- Topic: Geometry: I downloaded some cube net diagrams from the internet (a cube net is an “unfolded” cube). I had one full sheet for each kid, each kid getting one of two diagrams. I showed them how to cut out and fold the cube, and then they each made their own (I helped them assemble it once they had put glue on the tabs). After that, I took mine (which wasn’t glued) and wrote a letter on each face. Then I asked “What letter is on the opposite side from the A?” After they answered, I folded it up and we checked. After we did a few different questions, I switched to the miniature cube diagrams from page 3 of the PowerPoint. I wrote letters again and asked the same kind of questions, and then checked by folding up the cube.
How Did It Go?
We had four kids this week.
These activities went really well, the kids were all into it. Different kids were good at different puzzles — one kid knew right and left, another is good at counting, another was the fastest at finding things in a picture.
Drawing With Replacement
The kids were better than expected at not looking in the bag — when we did this with the older circle, people tried to cheat. The first time they drew 9 reds and 1 green. Two of the kids thought there would be 2 greens and 2 reds; the other two thought 1 green and 3 reds. I played the fool and said there could be 4 reds, but they were onto me. In retrospect, I should have gone farther and had them make a puzzle for me and then I could make a bad but not impossible guess (e.g., “I think there are more reds than greens because the first thing I drew was red” or guessing more red than green after drawing more green than red). The second time there were no reds, and everyone guessed correctly (they drew about 10 times).
Then I introduced two bags, asking which had more greens. They took a bit to get going, but then one kid took charge of one bag and another the second. I had given them paper to keep track, but didn’t tell them what to keep track of. They ended up all making a chart to track the TOTAL number of reds and greens across both bags, which obviously doesn’t help much. The bags were skewed enough that the kids in charge of each bag could tell that their own bag was mostly one color, so in the end they all guessed the right answer. But the record keepers had no idea without listening to the bag holders :).
The kids were pretty good at cutting out their diagrams. They were decent at folding as well. I helped assemble because that part is pretty tricky.
The first time I asked them a “what’s on the opposite side” question, they had no clue. But they quickly noticed how the line of four squares formed a ring around the cube with the two other flaps on opposite sides, so by the 2nd or 3rd question they were all correct. And when I switched to a new diagram with the same backbone of four consecutive squares plus a slightly different arrangement of the opposite flaps, they still got it right. However, once I switched to one where the opposing flaps were at opposite ends (a sort of 2 shape), they got it wrong. And I didn’t have a chance to get to a diagram that was a zigzag, with no backbone.