KinderGals: Building Number Sense with February Math Mats

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Building Number Sense with February Math Mats

A few months ago I shared some fall themed math mats for developing number sense! This post shares some of our favorite February themed mats (groundhog's day, valentines, and postal workers) for developing number sense!
Getting Started
• To make ONE math mat game, place 6-8 boards and about 100 counting pieces into a ziploc baggie.
• I use math mats as one of my centers. I can have 4-6 kids in that area.
• Since each child will select one of the baggies, I want to have at least 7-8 math mat baggies in order for each child to have choice.
• Each child also has a library pocket that contains cards. The cards determine what each child will do with their mats and counting pieces.
One to One Correspondence
If a child has cards with dots in their library pocket, he is learning to touch each object and to assign a number word to that object.  He may, or may not, recognize any numerals at this point. In this example, the child counts the dots on the card. Then, he puts that many suns or clouds on the groundhog. Repeat this on each of the game boards. These children are also developing cardinality, conservation, and subitizing.
Numeral Recognition
If a child has cards with numerals, they are counting the correct number of pieces onto the game boards  to match each numeral. When we say "number" we are referring to that set of objects. When we say "numeral" we are referring to a symbol that represents that number!  The child places one numeral card on each game board and counts a set of objects to match the numeral. In this example, the child is counting hearts and keys clip art pictures onto the game boards.
In order to save ink I have a few choices. I made each game board and page of counting pieces in both color and black and white.  In this game, I printed the hears on pink and red paper to save color ink!
I found these cute counting pieces at the Dollar Tree. I bought 2 packages of each color to be sure and have enough. I can use these instead of the paper counting pieces.
Number Combinations
I also found these fun Valentine cups at the Dollar Tree. I picked up some straws to use for the counting pieces. If a child is working on number combinations, all of the cards in their pocket will have the same numeral. For example, if the child is working on combinations for 6, then you will put enough "6" cards for them to use on all of the math mats.
Once the children get to this step, you will want them to have the opportunity to divide their counting pieces into two groups. In this example, there are two different colors of straws. They can put 1 pink and 5 purple to make 6. But, if I only had pink straws, they could put 1 straw on the ground and 5 straws in the cup. This means that you want ALL of your games to have the ability to do this! That way, regardless as to where the children are working, they can all use the same math mats.
I hit the jackpot at the Dollar Tree. I also found these fun little mailboxes. I had to think about this one as each mailbox was \$1. In the end, as you can see, I got them. I just know the kids will love them! Sticking with the same games, we can also teach addition.  Here the kids are putting packages and letters into the mailboxes to match the equations.  Before beginning this step, you will want to call kids into a small group that are ready for addition. Give each child one game board. As you tell story problems, invite the children to manipulate the pieces to solve the equation. Once they understand this concept (it could take 4-5 small group times), introduce the equations. Tell a story problem that matches the equation.  After you have modeled several times, invite the children to tell story problems. Once this is mastered, give each child their own math mats with a variety of equations. Invite them to spread out the mats and solve each equation. Once they have finished, the children select one of the cards to tell you an addition story.
Subtraction
When I saw these roses at the Dollar Tree, I looked for some plastic vases. All I could find were glass ones. Then, I saw these glasses. I guess from the picture you put dessert in them? To use the game boards for subtraction, use the same steps as addition just this time use subtraction!

Here's what's cool.
• When the children go to the Math Mats center, they select their pocket folder out of a file box.
• Next to the file box is a container with the games in baggies.
• Each baggie contains ONE game (6-8 mats and about 100 counting pieces).
• They can pick ANY baggie!
• All of the games can be used regardless of where the children are working in their number development.
• In order to determine where the kids need to begin, you can go back to your formative assessment. I love to use the ESGI platform!
ESGI is a great way to keep up with your assessments! The assessments are right on your computer or ipad. I just walk around the room and ask the kids while they are working! It then gives you a score for that assessment.

I love that ESGI allows you to print out a parent letter with the information for everything you have tested!
Here are the units the contain the game boards, pages of counting pieces, and the cards for the pocket folders. The game boards and the counting pieces are in color and black and white.

Math Attack Bundle 1 contains math mats that I use from August through January.
And Math Attack Bundle 2 contains the math mats I use from February to July.