KinderGals: Easy Ways to Use Pattern Blocks to Teach ALL the Math Standards

## Sunday, September 4, 2016

### Easy Ways to Use Pattern Blocks to Teach ALL the Math Standards

I can't remember not having pattern blocks. Thirty five years ago when I entered my first kindergarten class...there were pattern blocks. I've had foam ones, plastic ones, wooden ones, magnetic ones, and ones that you could use on an overhead projector! We have used them to make patterns, number combinations, and designs just to name a few. But, so often we find manipulatives stored in closets because we just aren't sure how to use them. Or, maybe you have used them for indoor recess or maybe even for early finishers.
But we can ask ourselves, "How can I get the most out of pattern blocks?" Here are a few ideas that can keep your patterns in centers ALL year!
My friend, and teaching partner, Michele and I decided to think of 3-4 centers that used pattern blocks to teach each of the standard strands. First, we made an I can...card for each activity. While we introduce these activities in our large and small group, we want them to move into our math centers where kids can do them independently. Most activities have a recording page, but not all of them.
First let's look at the counting standards:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: CC4a: When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object.
Common Core First Grade standard: NBT1: Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.
NCTM standard for both grades: 1A- Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.

## Scoop and Count

Here's how you play:
• Give children a cup.
• Children scoop up the unifix cubes in the cup.
• Pour them on the table and count.
• Write the number on your recording sheet.
It is really easy to differentiate this activity for your different learners:
• Give a different size cup to scoop more or less blocks.
• Sort the blocks.  If you want them to count a lesser number, use the yellow and red blocks.
• If you want them to count a greater number, use the green and orange blocks.
Now we can look at the data standards:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: MD3-Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count
Common Core First Grade standard: MD4-Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another
NCTM standards for both grades: Standard 5: Data Analysis and Probability 5A: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them. 5B: Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.

## Make, Sort Count

Here's how to play:
• Give each child a pattern block wall.
• Invite them to make the pattern on the sentence strip provided. You will want to cut the strip short enough that all of the pattern blocks can fit on the graph. The conceptual graph isn't shown in this picture.
• Sort the blocks and count.
• Record the number on the recording page.
• Color the graph to match.
• Write an analysis.
Here are the measurement standards:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: MD1-Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.                                                                                 MD2-Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference.
Common Core First Grade standard: MD2 Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps.
NCTM standards for both grades: Standard 4- 4A: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement. 4B: Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas to determine measurements.

## Measure It!

Here's how to play:
• Invite the children to select one of the cards to measure with pattern blocks.
• Now pick a different card to measure using the same kind of block.
• On the recording page, write how many it took of each.
• Circle longer, shorter or taller, shorter for each set.
The shape standards are:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: KGA: Identify and describe shapes. KGB: Analyze, compare, create, and compose shapes.
Common Core First Grade standard: 1GA: Reason with shapes and their attributes
NCTM standards for both grades: Standard 3A: Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships.

## How Many Ways?

Here's how to play:
• Provide each child with a game board.
• Remove the brown and orange pattern blocks.
• Invite the children to use the other pattern blocks to see how many ways they can fill the hexagon.
For addition and subtraction, we have these standards:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: KOA.A: Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.
Common Core First Grade standard: 1OA.A: Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. OA.C: Add and subtract within 20
NCTM standards for both grades: Standard 1- 1A; Understand numbers, ways of re[resenting numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems. 1B: Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another. 1C: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

## Baggie Subtraction

Here's how to play:
• Draw a line down the middle of a baggie.
• Put a given number of pattern blocks, all the same color, inside and seal. You will want to put a "target" number of blocks. For example, if they are working on combinations for 6, put 6 blocks in the bag.
• Move all of the pattern blocks to the left of the line.
• Invite the children to roll the dice.
• Move that many pattern blocks to the right side of the line.
• Record the answer on the recording sheet.
And finally, composing and decomposing number standards:
Common Core Kindergarten standard: KOA.A: Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.
Common Core First Grade standard: 1OA.A: Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. OA.C: Add and subtract within 20
NCTM standards for both grades: Standard 1- 1A; Understand numbers, ways of re[resenting numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems. 1B: Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another. 1C: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.

## Decompose and Build

Here's how to play:
• Invite the children to turn over a number.
• Count out 10 blocks of one color to make a ten.
• Then, they decide how many ones, and count that many blocks of another color.
• Use the blocks and build a design.
All of these games, recording pages, and I can cards are in this unit.