Monday, June 13, 2011

Beginning Numbers-Math Rack

Beginning number concepts for first graders include the concept of subitizing.  Subitizing is the ability to look at a group of objects and know what the number is or the numbers that make up that number.  For example-a child can look at the pips on dice that are rolled and know that one of them is a four because of the pattern the dots form.  Another example is a child who looks at a ten frame and can recognize that the number shown is five because half of the ten frame is filled in.  I recently went to a workshop with Dr. Nicki Newton who introduced me to the world of subitizing (and a cool tool I will explain below) and I have been trying ever since to figure out ways to help my students with this concept. 

One of the ways to help students with this concept is a  thing called a Rekenrek or Math Frame.  These tools are pricey-so I have made mine out of pipe cleaners, two colored beads, and plastic mesh canvas (used when embroidering).

Children can use a Rekenrek/Math Frame to start understanding the concept of a five and ten (as well as other numbers).  For example-all the beads start on the right side.  To show the number five-the student swoops all the red beads on the top row to the left.   To show the number eight-the student swoops all the red beads and three white beads that are on the top row to the left.  Here are some resources so you can see other activities and probably a better explanation about the concept!  This manipulative has endless possibilities for beginning number concepts as well as addition, subtraction, and story problems.

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  1. Suzanne,
    Thanks for linking up with me. I use to do this and attached the pipe cleaner to a paper plate making slits on each side. The kids loved using it as I made up a number story. You reminded me to pull this out and do it again. Love it!

  2. What an interesting idea! I have done this in the past to understand place value for tens and ones but admit that it was time consuming for children to make. I'd love to hear you tell us about the process of making these. Do you make one per child? Etc.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Using the plastic mesh for the back of the math frames should mke them pretty sturdy. I am almost done with the class set. Having my students make them would be beneficial, but it would take forever! They did not take long to make at all. My family is usually willing to help out-especially if there is ice-cream at the end.

  4. I think I've found my new project for the week, thanks!=)
    F is For First Grade

  5. I headed to Teacher Heaven yesterday to get one and they didn't have them. I've contacted some places online to get one.

    I guess Michael's or Hobby Lobby is the next step.

    I can't wait to play, write and video about this thing.

    (notice, too, that it is representative of fingers and toes - so in the bathtub you can do counting activities. And if you're okay with it - paint your little one's nails red and white!)

  6. This is great. We have the big Rekenreks and 5 little ones...I love using them.

    I am happy to be your newest follower. I would love for you to visit me when you get the chance. I have TONS of math *freebies*! =)

    Heather's Heart