Sunday, September 22, 2013

Counting Collections

We've been having fun choosing and counting collections of objects in our classroom.  It's a great open-ended activity that gives the students a chance to show what they know in a playful format.  For added excitement, we put the collections in a mystery bag and each pair of children had to reach in and choose a box!  The students were so focused on sorting their collections in order to count them in a way that made sense to them.  It was a treat to have a window into their thinking as I circulated and listened in on conversations...

This group decided to round up their piggies into two rows.  "We're counting by 2's!"  But they found it was tricky to make sure they were working with exact groups of two when the rows weren't quite lined up.  Pesky pigs!

They decided to round up the pigs and bring the rows closer together to be sure.  Problem solving in progress!

Another group worked with rainbow frogs.  They lined these little guys up into groups (by colour and size too).  They announced that they had counted by groups of 12.

I wondered how "friendly" of a number that was for them to work with, and asked them how they arrived at 71.  The beauty of working with 7 year olds is how open they are about sharing their thinking. Ask and they love an audience!  They shared how they had used the 100 Chart to count by 12's.  They knew that twelve was "10 and 2 more", so they followed this pattern to get to 72.  However, one of the blue froggies was missing so they had to "minus 1" at the end of their counting.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you count frogs!  (As an afterward they explained to me that they saw the 72 on the plastic container, but it was a good thing they counted them anyway because one was missing!)

When we gathered to Connect and Reflect, we decided to record some guidelines for counting.  The class decided:

1.  Look at the collection first.  Think about what would make sense to count by.

2.  Choose a number to count by.  You might choose to count by 1's, 2's, 3's, 5's, 10's, or even 20's.

3.  Make equal groups.

I'm sure our counting guidelines will evolve as we continue exploring and learning together, but it's exciting to listen to the students sharing and discussing their thinking!  What counting activities do you like to do in your classroom?  What counting do you like/need to do as a family?


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