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28 Aug, 2015. 3 Comments. . Posted By: Kristen Smith

This week we have been working on learning the numbers 1-6. I wanted these lessons to be as hands-on and interactive as possible. My students have already mastered what the equal sign means and have learned that when we add, we combine two numbers to make another number. To help my students truly understand this concept, I have been using a fun game.

To play, you need two hula hoops, an addition sign, and an equal sign.

This game helps students learn how to decompose numbers in a really fun way. When I first introduced the game, I started with the number 2. I asked one student to come up and stand in the first hula hoop and asked my students how many more friends I needed to get to two? They eagerly replied ONE!! I then asked one more student to join my friend in the first hula hoop. I showed them that they made the equation 2=2+0.

I then had those two students sit down, and I asked my class if they could make two a different way. Hands shot up and they happily told me that we should put one friend in the first hoop, and another friend in the second hoop because 2=1+1.

We practiced this lesson each day with a different number and by the number 4, they were ready to take charge. I chose one student to be the “teacher” and they had to arrange their friends in different combinations to make the number we were working on.

Here’s what it looked like in action:

To set up, I put two hula hoops on the floor. To begin the lesson, we make our number using our magnetic ten frame. We also find the number on our number line.

Then, I choose a student to be the teacher and they have to call up the correct number of students and place them in the two hoops.  As the “teacher” calls students up, he or she shows them where to go.  When they have the correct number of students in the hoops, the class figures out the equation and we write it down on the board.

They LOVE being the teacher and figuring out the equations. This game is active and lets many students get up and participate. Best of all, it is helping my students solidify their number sense!

In our math centers this week, my students worked independently on writing the numbers we had been working on and forming them using play dough.  They are becoming amazing mathematicians!

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