In typically first-grade style, we start with some concrete learning (pun intended) with outdoor-chalk number lines on our school’s outdoor basketball court. Before school, I visited our playground and drew 3 number lines. One number line went from -2 to 20, one from -2 to 15, and the third from -2 to 10. (Why did I include negative numbers? Although we don’t touch negative numbers in 1st grade, my kids need to know they exist. My friends won’t think anything of it when they are introduced in a few years. This is an easier way for me, as a primary teacher, to bridge the intermediate-primary gap.)
Launching Our Learning
Skipping our typical number talk and whole-group mini-lesson, we headed outside. As a whole-class we practiced finding numbers on the number line, finding one more and one less, adding simple numbers together, and we stretched our brains to use the number lines to solve word problems. As a single friend was hopping on the number line, my friends joined them in hopping in their standing spots behind the number line.
I then split students into 3 groups of 7 students (I have 23 students but 2 were absent yesterday). Each group worked as a team to read the questions and use the number line to solve them! Putting students in control, it was fun to be able to stand back and watch my kids in action.
It was such a fun half-hour and a great way to get outside and introduce math in a FUN way. After we finished-up, we headed back inside for our guided math rotations.
I don’t want my first-grade friends thinking math is a difficult, cumbersome academic subject that is confined to a Go Math textbook or workbook. Rather, we had a BLAST hopping from number to number, solving math problems. As one of my sweet littles said, “It like we are outside and playing, but doing math too!”
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