Online Circle 1: Monster parade and Snap it!

Sunday, December 13 2020, 9:00-9:30am. Nia (5), Bab (5), Dil (5), Gye (5), Dem (5)

I recycled and extended a lot of the activities I did this summer with my kids for the math club.

Task 1: Monster parade

Supplies: a few drawing of monsters and animals, some with one foot (a snail or snake), two feet, four feet, etc. or kids can gather their stuffed animals. 
Story: Monsters love to be in parade. They do have special rule though: every parade is a ten-foot parade. This means that if we add the feet of all the monsters in the parade, we have to get 10. Can you make monster parades? 

What to do: Encourage children to make their own parades with the monsters. Then you can ask them to give you a parade with a specific number of monster: "Can you make a parade with 3 monsters?", "What about one with 10 monsters?". Or ask them to make a parade with a specific monster: "Can you make a parade with this spider?", "How many monsters can be in a parade with a spider?" 

Task 2: Snap it!

Supplies: five unifix or mathlink cubes fit into a long bar for each player.

What to do: when they hear "Snap it!", each child snaps the bar into two, hides one of the snapped off piece behind her back, and shows the other one to everyone. Each child has to guess the number of cubes behind the back of another child. 

How it went

The monster parade started well. There was a little bit of discussion about how many feet a snail has – the children said “zero” but I really wanted snails to have one foot so they accepted that. When I asked the kids to form a parade with 10 feet, most of them showed me a correct one. It was a little more difficult when I asked for a parade with 3 monsters. A couple of the children did show me a parade with 3 monsters and 10 feet, but Dem gave me three monsters but only 8 feet. She forgot the requirement that each parade had to have 10 feet. I didn’t remind them to make sure there were 10 feet. When I asked for a parade with a ladybug, the same thing happened. A few kids did remember to make sure there were 10-feet total but some did not. Doing it online was hard because I couldn’t quite see well on the screen what each child was showing me and about a fourth of the time, just didn’t see at all. I also couldn’t let some of the kids play while talking one-on-one with others. I was a bit frustrating to broadcast to everyone at the same time.

The second task was ok. I think all of them are fluent with counting to 5 and could answer the question – IF they could see well what the other children were showing. Again, it was a matter of seeing on the screen. I wasn’t very good at setting up the turns, but all in all, I think it was successful.

I intended to push the Snap it! activity to 10 cubes or maybe even 20 but I am not sure we will be able to see. Maybe another time.

In the middle of the second activity, Nia (my own child) started pouting and crying. When we joined, she saw that some of her friends had a background and wanted one too. We couldn’t because I had to show things and backgrounds are not good for that and not good when there are two people on the same screen. Then she got frustrated because she had less turns than anyone and wanted to show her answers too. She was right about the last point. I was trying hard to engage all the other children and neglected her.

After the club, one of the moms sent me an email saying that she played “math teacher” with her child after the club, using the activities we just did. They had fun. The math club felt a bit disorganized despite my planning and I was frazzled afterwards. It is worth it if kids and parents want to “play math”. I just have to get used to a bit of chaos.

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