Monday, December 10, 2012

More or Less Bags-At Home or School


I have a collection of these wonderful draw string bags that a parent made for the school once. I'm sure it would be pretty easy to find little bags that are not see-through with all the gift wrap available in stores these days.   I filled them with a collection of two different objects in each bag.  Examples of what I put in the bags for this activity include:

buttons and popsicle sticks
feathers and caps
crayons and pencils
blue gems and red gems
lady bugs and butterflies, and so on.

The children were told that these were mystery bags for a game of more or less.  They were going to figure out which item had more.  

 The children took a bag and sorted the objects in to two groups.  First they predicted which group they thought has more and then counted each group. Estimation is a critical skill in mathematical development and our young children can be challenged to predict at an early age.  "What do you notice?"    "Before you even count, which one do YOU think has more?"  "Let's estimate before we count."  If you get the proverbial, "I don't know", just tell them to "give it a try" or "take a guess."

The children were encouraged to line up the objects in order to see the one-one correspondence of the materials as well as showing them how to move objects over as they counted to help avoid counting an item more then once.

I varied the number of objects in each bag from 8-20 objects.  Some bags even had the same number of each item.

Sometimes the larger in size item had fewer than the smaller in size items, so they looked longer when spread in a row.  This often challenged the thinking of the children as many of them thought the longer the row, the more objects there were.  Some of them had to count several times to convince themselves.  

We played with these more or less bags in small groups allowing me to differentiate the learning experience for the children based on the guidance I gave or the questions I asked.  I was able to scaffold the learning experience to meet them each at their level of expertise at counting and challenge them to the next on an individual basis.  

The bags are now on a shelf in our classroom and the children can independently access them to explore bags they didn't get to count or to play the game along with friends.  They really enjoyed the mystery of not knowing the items and the challenge of discovering which had more.

This is a fun game that can even be played at home with various objects around the house.  Compare spoons and forks, lego pieces and match box cars, blocks and magnets, socks and clothespins....what can you come up with?

No comments:

Post a Comment