Monday, 10 September 2012

Maths Centers in the Morning!

Finally, I'm back to school after the summer hols and back to the blogging after a long hiatus!
For the last two months before the holidays, I began trying out maths centers as an alternative to literacy and play/oral language centers. While the centers did not involve as much 'exploration' of the room as my literacy centers, this almost suited the mood of the children at the end of the year, as they can get quite hyper as the year comes to a close and the weather gets finer. I felt that these activities were still very enjoyable for the children but involved less classroom management issues as the children completed them all at their desks.

Here were the centers I chose (some of these I got off this site: where you can find loooads more maths center ideas - colours, shapes, tessellation etc):

1.) Counting counters:

Each child at the table had one of the above sheets with different numbers on it. There was a bowl of counters in the middle of the table. The children put a given number of spots on the butterfly/ladybird, they put counters in the bag and 'apples' on the tree using counters. These sheets could be made using the numbers 1-10 but I felt at the end of the year that my students were well able to use numbers 1-20.

2.) More or Less Cubes:

The children were given a bowl/bag of cubes each (with two colours of cubes in the bowl). They wrote the two colour names at the top of the sheet over each column. They had to close their eyes and pick a handful of cubes out of the bowl/bag. Then they wrote in the amount of each colour they picked out under the colour name on the top two lines. They circled the colour number there was more of on this go. They repeated the exercise until the sheet was completed.
(Trust me, its easier than it sounds!)

3.) Making Number Necklaces:

I gave each child at this table a sheet of the above sample and a jar of beads. They had to line up the beads around the shapes to make a 'necklace'. I would also consider having the children thread spools onto string for this exercise if you have the resources to do this and can label the strings with numbers!
4.) Piggy Banks:

The children at this table each got one of these sheets of piggy banks each and they had to fill them with coins left on the table. We made quantities of 2c-10c using 1c, 2c, 5c and 10c coins.

5.) Race to Ten:
This is my favourite station as it is so brilliant to use as an informal way of introducing take away and revising addition with infants. Each child gets a game board and each of them take turns around the circle to roll two dice. One dice has numbers 1-6 on it and the other has a mixture of + and - signs on it. If they get a +3 they put on three counters, if they get a - 4 they take away 4 counters from the board, etc. The first child to ten is the winner.

These stations could definitely be changed and added to throughout the year especially with other bought maths games/shape hunts/number hunts/colour hunts etc, but I found these to be a good start with my Senior Infants. I may get a bit more adventurous with them as time goes on! 

Happy Teaching!

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