This week, first graders went to the woods with collecting on their mind. Sitting in the outdoor classroom in the crisp air students were asked to work in teams to gather natural objects that we could use as manipulative’s for math time. Some groups chose to collect leaves, some groups chose to collect sticks, and others collected items like pinecones and small rocks. The kids ran around with their bags and their group finding the best sticks and the best leaves to collect to use.
“WOW! Look how HUGE this leaf is.”
“I bet I have 100 sticks in my bag!”
“My bag has 3 different colors of leaves in it!”
Students talked to each other about their collections and were very curious about how we would be using these collections later during math.
Fast forward through the day to math time. Two of the first-grade classes met outside where there were 10 different “flap cards” drawn in chalk. Flap card and dominoes have been a topic in math for several weeks. All of the kids partnered up and were asked to use natural objects from their collections to make their own flap cards to match the whole number that was written above their flap card. This resembles a part-part whole mat. To take it to the next step partnerships worked together to write out the fact family that matched their creations on a white board. The level of student understanding for this lesson was amazing and the level of engagement shown was proof, in itself, that with a little fresh air and choice of manipulative’s students can succeed.
Karri Hall, Meroby Elementary, Grade 1