Week 1 Math Focus: Counting and Cardinality
The math focus of Week 1 is counting and cardinality. Children entering Kindergarten are learning to count fluently and flexibly. This means counting to higher numbers (to 30, 40 and beyond), counting starting from numbers other than 1 (that is, starting from 6 and counting up), and counting backward. While these skills may seem easy to adults, children need practice counting in all of these different ways.
Children are also learning rational counting: counting out objects, or counting to determine the cardinality of a group, or the number of objects in the group. Children are often able to count rotely (recite the numbers in order, like reciting the alphabet) before they can use counting to create or count groups of objects, especially groups of 4 or more. The activities at right give children lots of opportunities for both kinds of counting.
Week 2 Math Focus: Shape Features
The math focus of Week 2 is shape features, such as curves, straight lines, and angles of various sizes. Children often learn to describe shapes by their names: triangle, square, circle, and so on. Children need practice seeing and comparing shape parts, as well. This allows them to learn new vocabulary to describe shapes they know names for, shapes that do not have names, and other objects. They can also use gestures, body motions, and other ways to show what they see, even if they do not have words to describe it yet. The activities at right give children opportunities to notice and describe parts of shapes.
Week 3 Math Focus: Shape Families
The math focus of Week 3 is shape families, or the idea that shapes can have different sizes and orientations and still be part of the same family. Young children often only see prototypical shapes, such as equilateral triangles sitting on their bases or long, skinny rectangles sitting on one side. Children need exposure to and experience with lots of different kinds of shapes within a family to begin to understand the defining properties of different shapes. Talk with children about what is similar and what is different about shapes within and across shape families. What makes all triangles alike? How are they sometimes different?
Week 4 Math Focus: Spatial Transformations
The math focus of Week 4 is spatial transformations, such as doing mental rotation and thinking about objects from different perspectives. Although visualizing what things will look like in different orientations and from different perspectives isn’t often addressed in early mathematics instruction, research has shown that young children can develop these types of spatial reasoning skills and understandings with experience and practice, and that doing so supports their developing skills in many other areas of mathematics and science.
Week 5 Math Focus: Operations
The math focus of Week 5 is operations, or simple addition and subtraction situations. Children will have many opportunities to explore addition and subtraction concretely as they act out number stories with their bodies and with manipulatives. Children learn to represent simple operations conceptually first: there is no need to represent these situations with numerals and symbols at this time.
Week 1 Activities to Try
Counting in Funny Voices
Choose a starting number, and count in the funniest voices you can think of! Count forward and backward, starting from different numbers and using different voices every time. Everyone in family can count together, or you can go around in a circle and take turns saying numbers in order. Try doing this during meal times, bath time, or on your way to or from camp!
Get any number of objects, and take turns counting them, intentionally making mistakes while counting (e.g. counting one object twice, labeling the total as different from the last number you count, skipping an object). The first person to notice and correct the mistake gets to count a new set of objects! Try this while eating, folding laundry, or cleaning up toys.
Week 2 Activities to Try
Take a walk around your neighborhood, looking for shapes and shape parts in buildings, structures, or living things. Describe what you see in as much detail as you can. If it's a rainy day, hunt for shapes and shape parts around the house!
Week 3 Activities to Try
Which One Is a Triangle?
Draw a triangle and a shape that looks almost like a triangle but isn't, and see if a family member can decide which one is which! Try it with rectangles, squares, and circles, too! You can also find shapes in magazines or books to play this game.
Week 4 Activities to Try
Stay tuned! Coming soon...
Week 5 Activities to Try
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