Saturday, 29 September 2012

Counting Vines

Numeracy Development

Numeracy is a mathematical strand that is worked on throughout the entire year. The students have many opportunities to work with numbers and mathematical vocabulary through each of these experiences. 

At the beginning of each day we will include a student-made flower to our co-constructed flower vines. Each flower represents one school day. The aim is for students to gain an understanding of one-to-one correspondence and to work up to celebrating the 100th day of school. As there are five school days in a week, we will be grouping the flowers into bundles of five. Students will begin to develop the concepts of quantity and skip counting through this visual display.

The Project

Our aim was to have students create a counting manipulative. The hand-made flowers will represent each day the students are at school. The vines will act as a visual counting line for students. The flowers will be included to our Hands on Thinking center as a mathematical manipulative for students to use to represent numbers, to explore quantity, to create patterns, and so much more. 

The Process

We wanted to involve students in the entire process of creating a beautiful visual display, with a purpose. Students began by rolling up their sleeves and squeezing strawberries and blueberries into two containers. We then added water to the berry juice to make a natural dye. The students added the egg cartons to the natural dye. The students determined how long to keep the egg cartons in the dye. They learned that if they kept the cartons in too long, “they get too wet and break” and decided that they should only keep the egg cartons in the dye for thirty seconds. The students then put the coloured egg cartons in the empty water table to dry.

Exploring our Senses

The process of making the flowers provided opportunities for student to explore their senses. The students used their sense of sight to observe the changes of the berries as they squished the fruit in their hands. They continued to use their sense of sight to observe the egg cartons as they were placed into the berry juice. The children described the colours they observed, “it’s turning pink,” “it’s blue and purple.” The sense of touch provided students with great excitement as they dug their hands into the basket of berries and squished the berries in their fingers to extract as much juice as they could. With squeals of excitement the students used their sense of smell and described the smell of the berries. The sense of smell prompted students to use their sense of taste to taste the berries. Some of the berries became an early snack and the children could not resist licking the berry juice from their fingers!   

Finding a Solution

The students returned the next day and discovered that the natural dye colour had not fully absorbed into the egg cartons. They had once again turned grey. We had to find a solution to this problem, students decided that painting the egg carton flowers would be the best solution. Watercolour paints and paintbrushes were available for students at the art center that day to paint the egg cartons. While our initial plan for a natural dye did not work, the entire experience provided students with a meaningful opportunity to develop a wide range of skills that are central to our kindergarten program.  

Developing Skills

Through our conversations during this entire process, students practiced oral language skills. Our conversations provided students with an authentic experience to use their senses and to use inquiry skills such as predicting what would happen to the egg cartons once in the berry juice, questioning why the colour on the cartons disappeared, as well as, critical thinking and problem solving as students found a solution to colour the egg cartons.   

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