Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Math can be found anywhere!

What is so wonderful about the kindergarten program is the authentic learning opportunities that arise in the least likely places! We had set out a provocation about the human body with x-rays at the light table.

At first our learners were excited, but didn't spend much time here. We left it out hoping someone would be inspired. Our patience paid off, D.A. began exploring the rib x-ray and wondered how any ribs there were. She used the toothpicks to re-create the ribs.

Other learners came over to see what she was doing. They then began connecting some of the x-rays. Ms. Tompkins encouraged them to use the floor to have more space. 

This group began working collaboratively and problem solving how to put the body together.
 The dialouge between this group was incredible. They were stating ideas, explaining their reasoning, and justifying their placements of the x-rays.

Here is a snippet into some of the conversation (Can you find the math?):

L.L- "This is long"
I.D- Maybe this?
L.L- And then...
I.L- That's the neck
L.L- This is the eye

A.R- Can I see?
D.A- It goes here! I got it!
L.L- That's shorter, that's long. That one is wrong, it's supposed to go on this side. Look, this side is this side, and that's there.
A.R- See? Here!
I.L- No no no, that's not the way it goes.
L.L- Oh!
I.L.- Where's the head?
A.A- The skull.
L.L- Is it like that?
A.R- I don't know!
A.A- Yeah it is!
I.L.- This is an arm piece, but where does the arm go?
A.R.- Look here! I think I know

The finished skeleton (we realized not all the x-rays were there, since the legs were different lengths)
The students then began to wonder about how many bones were in the body. We talked about how they could find out. D.A. told them about how she used toothpicks to help her count the ribs. So together they worked using popsicle sticks and toothpicks to match each bone they saw. Before they finished they predicted how many bones they thought were in the body.

I.L- 100
A.R- 50
A.A- 120
L.L- 17
D.A- 40
M.F- 19

They persisted and worked together when adding all the sticks. 

They each began to count the bones but the number got too high. So D.M. decided to count only the arm and record the number on paper. This encouraged the others to do the same. Each learner recorded the number and the body part. They suggested we use a calculator to add up the totals because it was so big! 

Our learners were so proud of themselves for working through this challenge. We were so proud of this group for how well they collaborated, persisted, spoke, counted, recorded and problem-solved. Such great learning!

Be open to authentic experiences, listen to your learners and provide opportunities for thinking. You'll be amazed at the learning that will happen.


  1. Math is an extremely challenging subject to study. That’s why this article is of great importance to me. I am a kindergarten teacher, so I have to know how to teach everything, I have to give relevant tips and I have to prepare my students to buying college papers online one day. However, I find Math to be the key to understand the processes in the world. That’s why I read the article carefully and I now I know what activities I should include in my next lesson plan.

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