Thursday, October 18, 2012

Math Games with Target Dollar Pieces

I found these acrylic acorns in the dollar section at Target recently. They were packaged as holiday decoration scatter such as would be used like confetti. They came in a bag of 100 and were just big enough that I started to wonder how I could use them in my classroom. I bought 2 bags and brought them to school. At first, I just put them in the math area to see what the students might do with them. The children were drawn to play with them. They counted them and made up stories about them while they played with them.

As we began to identify and order numbers 0-10, my students began to count them and group them by 10's on their own.

The students began to make up games using these pieces. They happen to be perfect game-sized pieces. You can see the size of the acorns compared to the student's hands below.

Today, our class played "Bingo" with cards that had 8 of the numbers from 0-10 on them. The students used these acorns as place holders on the Bingo cards.

My students however, were not too interested in the game of Bingo at first. However, when I had our two classroom friends, "Mr. Harry" and "Charlie" play, everyone played this game. I sat my two puppet friends at the math center area after lunch today and most of the class rotated through this center to play the Bingo game with the acorns. I put a puppet on each hand and acted out a Bingo game with appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior during the game. I wanted to show the students that they can have fun without having to be the winner every time. They were hysterical with laughter! These puppets fit perfectly over a container of Clorox wipes (that's how I sat them at the table like this).

We also used these acrylic acorns to play a math game called, "Blast Off". I believe the game idea came from "Mailbox for Teachers".

Materials needed:
  • 1 game board with a rocket ship drawn on it. The rocket ship has 7 blackline circles drawn on it.
  • 7 plastic game pieces (acorns in this case)
  • 1 die
  • 6 linking cubes per person

Each pair of friends takes a rocket ship game board that has 7 circles drawn on it. I place a plastic acorn in each of the circles. One of the two players rolls a die. Whatever number comes up, the student takes that many linking cubes and builds a tower. The other student rolls the die and builds their linking cube tower. Whoever has the largest tower wins and takes one of the acorns off the rocket ship. The game continues until all the acorns are won. The player with the most acorns wins. We then try the game and change the rules such that the player with the smallest tower wins the acorn.

Students have also mixed these plastic acorns with our plastic bear manipulatives to make AB patterns across the carpet. 

I can not wait to see how many more uses we can come up with to use these acorns in our classroom. If you had these pieces in your room, how would you use them?

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