Monday, 24 February 2014

Math Racks

On January 27-28, 2014 Several Hutterite teachers (Sandra from Good Hope and Kathy from Odanah) and I had the opportunity to attend a fabulous math PD at Steinbach, MB.  Cathy Fosnot presented her Mathematics Contexts for Learning to us as well as her Year Long Resources.  All of us came away with a wealth of information, ideas and activities...
To teach early number sense, one of the resources Cathy uses is a Math Rack. Or should I say math racks as she uses three different ones, starting from the 5-bead rack, moving up to 10, then 20-bead rack.
Following is her Math Rack Progression:

5 Rack

  • quick images on part/whole

10 Rack

  • quick images of right side only, privileging the 5 structure 
  • combinations that make 10
  • compensations
  • showing part, determining what's hidden

20 Rack

  • quick image doubles, starting with 5 + 5 as a helper, privileging the 5/10 structure
  • quick  images doubles +/-
  • compensations
  • making tens
  • easy ones and hard ones
  • one addend shown, imaging the other
  • minuend shown, imaging the subtrahend
  • just written problems, imaging the rack

Each  participant also left the session with a 20-bead rack.  Since I wanted to start my class with a review of the 5 and 10 bead racks, I had some locally made.  My sister Sonia had purchased a beaded car seat some time ago, so my mom took it apart for me. Since I had taken a picture of the racks Cathy used for her demonstration.  I showed it to our mechanic and in short order he created 5 and 10 bead racks for me as well as rods for the 20 bead racks.  I took the rods over to our carpenter shop and tada! I had 20-bead racks.
Thanks Sonia, mom, Darren and Don for your contributions.  To quote a character in one of Cathy Fosnot's books, "A real community project!"

After a few 5-10 minute session, my kindergarten students are getting to be quite proficient with  the combinations of 5.  My grade ones are using to 10-Bead rack to learn facts of 10 and my third graders are working on facts beyond 10 with the 20-bead rack.  All told, I find the Math Racks to be very useful tools indeed!


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