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This cards-on-a-clothesline activity is a low-tech, high-touch activity for math beginners. Who’s ready to count and crunch some numbers?
Open a discussion with children about the role that numbers, or digits, play in their lives. A responses such as, "They tell you how many," or , "If you count in order, each number is one more than the one before it and one less than the one after it" are simple yet reveal a beginning understanding of what numbers can do.
Reveal to students that they will be creating a visual display of numbers, or digits, to work with in this lesson. Organize students into pairs or small groups. Distribute large index cards to each group. The number of index cards may be pre-determined by the teacher and dependent upon the students' skill level. You may wish to begin with 10-20 cards. Additional cards can be added later.
Instruct students to write one numeral on each index card with Crayola® Gel Markers. Also ask students to draw the number of objects the numeral stands for. Students may make one circle, two triangles, and three squares, and so on. Remind groups that zero stands for no objects, which is a good place to begin counting.
Tape a long yarn or laundry line to a wall, white board, or another safe place. With clothespins or other clips, attach the cards to the line in counting order. Ask groups to practice counting along their number lines.
Now rearrange the numbers from highest to lowest. Or pick out even numbers, or odd numbers, and put them in order. Count by twos. Count forward and backward. How many other ways can you find to arrange your String-Along Numbers? Challenge each group to devise a unique counting activity. Then, begin the count!
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