Early on in our planning we were aware that there was something interesting and exciting about seeing 100 of something. We have experimented with a range of props begged and borrowed from the MakeBelieve Arts prop store which has seen our group counting everything from 100 grains of rice to 100 mega blocks. We are now working with a life-size number square, made from circular table mats which goes from 1 to 100 which is large enough for the children to walk on and create mathematical pathways, explore sequences and play with addition and subtraction in a kinaesthetic way.
We have now completed four Creative Maths sessions. The sessions are focused around the King and Queen of number who rule the land of number. All our workshop exercises are framed within the story, raising the stakes and making the situations real for the children involved. We have had lots of adventures so far including throwing a massive party with number games for all the townspeople, tidying up all the muddled numbers that have been knocked down from the festivities the night before and something very interesting with a snail (but more about that in a later blog!).
It never ceases to amaze me that by playing and enjoying numbers, you remove the fear factor or getting it wrong or right!
After two sessions, we realised that one of the biggest challenges for some of the children in the group was writing down numbers and ensuring that the numbers themselves were the correct way around. We used our story of the King and Queen of number to create a number warm up that involved the entire group making the number shapes with their arms and bodies. We had to ensure that the facilitator was facing the same way as the children so that he was modelling the correct number shape in the right direction!
A key skill in mathematics for the Year 3/4 was to be able to count accurately and we were able to play with this idea by creating a scene between the King and Queen of number trying desperately to check that they had 20 pencils for their 20 secretaries to send out party invitations.
The most effective part of this scene was that we were able to then ask the class to be our ‘experts’ on counting accurately. One brave volunteer decided to show us exactly how to do it by counting the object as it was placed on the table to ensure accuracy. The children were then able to use this model of effective counting in future workshop sessions and refer back to what they had seen.