Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Math Memorable #2

(This is my second post on math strategies and manipulatives. Click here for the first.)

First, something I found that you PreK and K teachers will love - these placemats can be laminated so that kids can draw on them with dry erase crayons! There are 40 total, I believe about 5 of each. It's not quite an I-Spy, but students have to find and count certain objects.

One of my favorite do-it-yourself math manipulatives is counting plates. Going back to the whole using fingers thing, it only helps if what you're doing requires 10 fingers or less. That's where some of my students hit a wall...enter counting plates!
 I took paper plates and created one inch long slits in them so that students could use the folds as extra fingers. This example shows 15 - 6. Students count back out loud as they fold each "finger" down. 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9...see how I wrote the number on the back?) They can also use the dots to count back. My students with disabilities needed to see the number as they counted, they couldn't just do it out loud or from memory by themselves. We also checked our work by counting up  (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) and putting the flaps back in place. You can also create these for addition and pair them with a partner and number line!

Next....popsicle stick ladders. You need 10 popsicle sticks, heavy duty tape, and multiples of the numbers 1-10. I'm trying to find my original copy so I can upload it, but if you want to try this, here's an example:

line 1: 1  2  3  4    5    6    7    8    9   10
line 2: 2  4  6  8   10  12  14  16  18  20
line 3: 3  6  9  12 15  18  21  24  27  30
 These sticks can be used for many things: skip counting practice, multiplication, and equivalent fractions.

Here I folded every other stick on top of the previous to find equivalent fractions. As you can see, using the top two sticks, 2/4 = 4/8 = 6/12....  using the second and third sticks, 4/6 = 8/12 = 12/18 and so on!

Also, because I folded every other stick, I can skip count by 2s.... first stick - 2, second stick - 4, third stick - 6 or first stick 14, second stick 28, third stick 42...students can easily see that we skip counted because we covered the stick!

See other Making Math Memorable posts:


  1. Love the counting plates! Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Very cool! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Love love love this. This will be an excellent tool for RTI and using manipulatives :)

  4. I love manipulatives and anything that can incorporate learning and fun at the same time! It looks like you spent a lot of time on them. It is good to see you focusing on math since that subject area seems to be a struggle for many children these days.

  5. Were you able to upload the document for the skip counting popsicles? I would love to make these for my kids!

  6. Can you upload the docment for this project! I love this idea!