Sunday, August 31, 2014

Combinations of Numbers with Magnetic Sticks



What an exciting week for back to school!  A few weeks ago, I wrote about making magnetic counting strips and using paper clips to do a variety of early numeracy activities.  That post has been super popular and shared many, many times!  As I continue to revisit ideas from Teach Like a Pirate my creativity has been great and I have really been trying to think outside the box. Today I want to share with you how I have taken the same sticks and gone to the next level for mathematical thinking and worked with combinations of numbers.  

Here are the original counting sticks.  You can see how I used them, what materials I used and find directions for making these here.  
So here is the difference.  I made the sticks exactly the same way but instead of making the numbers 1-9, I made the numbers from 5-10.  For each number, I made at least 3 sticks.  I still had plenty of colored sticks left from my box of 500 and I grabbed another pack of the glittery foam numbers from the Dollar Tree.  Instead of using silver paper clips, I ordered some new colored paper clips specifically for this project.  They are coated in plastic but still are metal underneath and stick to the magnetic strips just fine.

After sorting the paper clips by color, I put 2 colors in each bag with the sticks for that number.  Obviously the sticks that say 10 need more paper clips in the bag than the sticks that say 5.  

I store the 3-5 sticks in the bag with the paperclips and now I have them ready to go for intervention or for workstations during Guided Math rotations.  


Kids can just dump the bag out and get to work.  Since we are at the beginning of the school year, these are great to use with first and second graders right now.  I may make a set later this year for Kindergarten kids and will probably make that set with numbers from 3-10.



For kids who are ready, you can make a simple recording sheet using a piece of scrap paper or a sticky note where they record the equations that go with the paper clips.

What is your favorite way to work on combinations of numbers? 

Head over to Kid's Math Teacher for other ideas for teaching second grade math.  

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