Friday, August 31, 2007

Math with Lore

I can't decide whether to send this to the Miquon Math support list or post it here...I think it makes as much sense to put it here and then send a link to the list. So if you're not interested in Miquon or in math or in homeschooling, you can always click Next Blog.

As I posted previously, Crayons is going to be more-or-less following the Miquon First Grade Diary for the first few weeks/months of her grade One math. This past week has been a prep week for the Full Big School Day (and next week will be prep-and-a-half, if you like). One of the subjects we did cover every day was Crayons' math, and this is what we did. She's started calling it "math with Lore" (after Lore Rasmussen, the co-author of the First Grade Diary), since I often pull out the book and say, "This is what Lore did with her class."

So if you have the FGD and want to follow, go ahead.

First day: Lore's class did some free play with the rods. We skipped that. Then she did a demonstration of how her big demonstration Cuisenaire rods corresponded to the students' smaller sets. Obviously we skipped that, especially because (as Crayons demonstrated soon afterwards), she already knows her rods quite well. Lore had the children build "stairs" with the rods (like the picture here), and Crayons did that without any problem. [Oh, I forgot--at this point Crayons decided she also needed to spell her name and her sister's name with rods--which she did, quite well! I gave her a few minutes to do her own "free play" and then suggested we move on.]

Then we did the "half of" exercise that comes next in the book. I asked Crayons what would be wrong if I broke a cookie in "half" and gave her the "little half" and me the "bigger half." We went around with that for a couple of minutes and ended up with her explaining to me that both the halves should be the same size. Aha. So I asked her the book questions: find the rod that is "half of" the purple rod, "half of" the red rod, "half of" the orange rod.

And we examined one of the white rods, which are 1 cm cubes. Kids always like this: you press one face of it into your arm and it makes a square; you press an edge into your arm and it makes a line; you press a corner into your arm and it makes a dot. (Gently!) We figured out that cubes have six faces...that took a few minutes.

Second day: we reviewed what we knew about cubes. The FGD says, "A pile of geometric solids was placed on a table. The children sorted the solids into cubes and non-cubes. They observed that cube has square faces only, while other prisms have combinations of square and non-square faces." Right there we had a bucket of small building blocks, so we dumped them on the floor and Crayons sorted them out into cubes and non-cubes. We looked at the non-cubes and named the shapes of their non-square faces: circles, triangles, rectangles.

Lore then held up numeral cards and the children held up a corresponding number of fingers. That would be an insult for Crayons, so we did something close but harder. She had been given a set of Trend Numbers Match-Me Cards, which have groups of up to 25 objects on them, and either written number words or numerals on the backs. You could easily draw your own on index cards, but we had these handy so I used them. I just pulled them out, showed her some of the groups of objects, and had her count them as fast as she could (encouraging her to count by groups if she could). Then she turned them over to see the numerals or words and check if she was right.

Third Day: Lore played a dice game with her class, which seemed (in her version) like it wouldn't work quite as well with just the two of us. So we played two similar games that worked better for us. First I took two cups, two sets of twenty plastic cm cubes (any small objects like Cheerios would work), and a die. We took turns rolling the die and seeing who could fill up her cup first. Then, just for fun, we played a version of NIM with 21 of the cubes. You had to take turns removing either 1 or 2 cubes from the pile, and the object was to force the other person to take the last cube.

Lore's class also did some tower-building and measuring, but we didn't get around to that.

Fourth Day (Sept. 19 in the FGD): Lore's class played a game of Lotto, using page A-3 from the Orange workbook. Since I still had those Trend cards handy, we played with those instead, and one of the Squirreling siblings showed up and played along with us. There are 2 sets of 26 cards in the box, numbered from 0 to 25; one set has objects on the front and numerals on the back, the other has objects on the front and words on the back, as I explained on Day Two. I sorted them into their two sets and dealt nine cards (3x3), objects up, to each player to make a Bingo card (we say Bingo instead). The extras were put aside. I saved the set with the words on the back and read them out one by one; if you had the right number of objects, you put a counter on that card; three in a row won. We played several rounds, changing the "bingo cards" between rounds just for variety.

We also did Lore's "diagnostic chalkboard session" which she did with a few of her students who seemed to know more about arithmetic than the rest. I just wrote down her addition, subtraction and missing-number questions for Crayons and had her answer them--and she got them all right except that she's still sometimes not sure about what minus signs are.

So that was our math week!

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