Our families are made of so many different people. Yesterday’s Morning Message asked, “Do you have a sister?” Children who do have a sister put their names inside a circle that was labeled “yes.” Those without put their names outside of the circle. Today repeated the question about brothers. Taking it a step further, we put two circles on the floor and handed each child a doll to represent themselves. If you have a sister or brother, you put your doll in the corresponding circle. If you do not have either, you put your doll on the outside of the circles.
All was well, until someone discovered that they needed more dolls. One of the children realized that they had a brother and a sister and didn’t know what to do with their doll. Mrs. Pless asked for solution suggestions from the group. We had a few ideas percolating.
Put dolls who have brothers and sisters in between the two circles. We tried it, but the children realized that then it looked as though those dolls had “No” siblings.
Place the two circles on top of one another and then place all of the sibling dolls in the new, single circle. Children who have only one sibling quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work.
Pick up the top (now stacked) circle and slide it over so that the two overlap only a small bit in the middle. The overlap is where you put dolls who have both brothers and sisters.
We have certainly had classes figure out the final solution in the past, but we’ve never had so many thoughtful experimental ideas. It was quite exciting to watch their mathematical thinking stretch.