You might have noticed some oddly shaped “art projects” coming home this week. They seem to be shrunken boxing mitts or maybe another attempt at creating our own lungs. However, you are missing the main ingredient. Black beans.
Yes, I did say black beans, but the children wouldn’t think of them as such. In their minds, they are ants. The two larger ovoid shapes are ant chambers connected by a tunnel. These abstract pieces of ant inspired architecture are the basis for our latest math mat.
In Pre-K, we practice early addition and subtraction concepts through the use of stories, frequently using a math mat as the backdrop. By playing with manipulatives as they combine and separate groups, the children gain a strong understanding of the relationships between numbers. They are also learning to identify the vocabulary used when making and breaking sets.
Now that it is at home, you can join in on the fun. Ask your child to tell you a story using any small manipulative. It could be tiny toys or small, dried beans of your own. Now make one up for them. You can play this as a game where you move the manipulatives and find an answer when your child tells the story and vice versa.
Here are some examples to start you off:
Once upon a time, three worker ants went to check on the queen. Later, two more ants came. How many ants were there all together?
One day eight ants were walking through the tunnels. Four ants stopped in the sleeping chamber for a nap. How many ants were left?