Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Skip Counting and Patterning

We are loving our new set of unifix cubes! I had these when I taught and honestly I have no idea how to teach number concepts and addition and subtraction without them so I ordered a set of 200 off EBay and they are fabulous! I've been doing a lot of skip counting chants with the boys and so today during our school time we sat together on the rug and worked on skip counting. Here's how I started it:

First I had the boys count out 20 cubes. This step is super important because the whole goal of skip counting is to speed things up, but your child needs to understand that no matter how they count the objects there will always be a total of 20.

After counting out 20 I had them first put them into 2 trains (any time a unifix cube is snapped together I call it a train. Could be a 2 or 3 or 10 train). Their cubes made ten 2 trains.

Then we put all our 2 trains in a pile and started counting by 2's. Every time we said a number we laid down one 2 train. For example: When we said "2" we laid down one train. When we said, "4" we laid down another train, etc.

We repeated this activity again with counting by 5's. I had them break their cubes back into singles (ones) and then build 5 trains. They loved this and we will repeat this over and over and over again.
 Remi and his 2 trains.
Here's a group shot to show how we all sat in a circle and we all built the trains. When you order your unifix cubes make sure you get a set that has different colors. Also I recommend getting 100 per child. It will be important for your child to have at least 100 when you start doing addition and subtraction. Do not buy these at an educational store--it will cost you a lot. Order them off Ebay or Craigslist and get them used.
 Once we finished with skip counting we moved on to pattern making. This is always fun and the boys are really catching on to making patterns. Here's Remi with his cool brown and green pattern.

 Yay for patterns! The boys like making "snakes" and so patterns works in easily with this.

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