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Students then relate this manipulation of cubes to pictures. They are given a story problem, “There were 10 ducks sitting on the pond. Then two ducks flew away. How many ducks are left?” Students then create a picture to model the story problem. Then they count up the remaining ducks in the picture to find their answer.
Children are hooked into math manipulatives very early in their development. They look to their own natural counters right on their hands, their fingers! We help them to translate that early thinking into objects when they begin school. In kindergarten, Eureka math heavily relies on manipulatives, acting out math stories, and drawing pictures. This is the time for creating this math idea that digits are objects. This helps them see numbers mean an amount of something. We want students to create these strong vivid connections. When they count, we want them to count knowing that as they go up in digits, they are increasing the amount. Students are seeing that higher numbers are more objects.
When we think of manipulatives we think of our whole student. If you are working with a five year old child, consider that they are often energetic and in need of movement. That child is also a literal and concrete thinker. Use those qualities to help build their math base. Keep them engaged and moving. Manipulatives provide meaning to math, but also keep children engaged at young ages. When children move things with their hands or move their bodies, they are making much stronger learning connections then when they are just listening and watching. We as teachers have been working our magic keeping students involved, engaged, and learning by using all motor skills together.
Now, let’s fast forward to virtual teaching swing. We were not prepared for how to continue this engagement in learning through a Google Meet or Zoom screen. We were working our magic day by day with new ideas that we were coming up with as we went. Luckily, there are so many resources for us. Teaches are also a family of a community by nature, so we always have the best ideas all around us each day.
Switching to virtual doesn’t mean giving up those best practice we know and love for our little ones. We just may alter the delivery a bit.
If you have an opportunity to create math manipulative baggies for each student ahead of time. Here are some goods you can gather from your classroom for each student:
*All of the templates can be found on https://www.engageny.org/ within the module that they are used in.
However, we know that some circumstance leave us to teach virtually with no plan, and we can still keep those students engaged and learning. Thanks to some virtual sites and DIY tips and tricks. If parents have a printer, you could send them the Eureka Math Templates to print and cut for their children ahead of the lesson as well.
Base 10 Blocks
Place Value Discs
Various Dice and Spinner Options
When using these manipulatives virtually, you show case them as the model and students follow along. When students go on to complete their independent work, they can use these manipulatives alongside of them to solve the problems.
When teaching virtually, it is also helpful to use a lot of big gestures with your students. What I mean is, be extremely expressive! In addition to moving the cubes in and out of groups, use your hands as pods that create the groups. Raise your two hands up about equal to your shoulders showing different amounts of cubes. Connect them to being the part-part portion of your number bond. Then bring your hands up over your hand and clasp them together showing the total. This also connects to the top of the number bond being the total.
Direct students to take this motion on when they recite facts. Tell them, “Show your number bond with your hands!” Even when they are ready to put down the cubes, the students can move to just using their hands as the number bond visual. You can also call on students individually to lead the class in using their hands as number bonds on the screen.
Remember the more the students are using their hands and bodies to make connections to the concepts, the stronger their connections will be! Screen time does not mean sit still time, keep them moving and keep them learning.
- Classroom Teacher
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