In my previous post I talked about the literacy component of my product titled, First Grade Math and Literacy Activities (Valentine's Day Week Style!) You can read about it by following this link: Literacy.
I am going to show you how I would use the math component. Part of this is going to sound a bit like a step by step tutorial. The file includes probability skills, graphing, and problem solving. There's is a lot to talk about!
1. Probability
Before I get started, here's a little background information. Probability is not a Common Core State Standard in first grade. According to my research, it is taught in seventh grade! However, first graders can be introduced to the basics of probability with the use of manipulatives. A few simple terms can be taught to help them develop probability concepts. Two of the easiest vocabulary words to get them started with are: impossible and certain. If you drop ten red cubes in a bag and ask your class how likely it is that you will pull a blue cube from the bag, they'll quickly get the idea of what impossible means. Furthermore, when they're asked how likely it is that a red cube is pulled from the bag, the term, certain will easily be understood. Once they have mastered these two terms, they are ready for three short phrases. Those phrases are: more likely, less likely, and equally likely.
Let's get back to the probability activities that I created for Valentine's Day! Once you have taught the terms mentioned above, your students are ready for the first probability activity. It's called, "Probability in a Flash". This is a large/whole group activity. Each child will need a copy of the page on the right side of the photo shown below. The sheet on the left side is for the educator.

The sheet on the left side is the demonstration page for the teacher. 
The children cut out the cards and spread them out on their desks or tables. They lift the appropriate card for each question that is asked. This engages the whole class. EVERYONE is answering EVERY question. They do this through the use of their cards. The teacher can quickly scan the room and determine who "gets" it and who needs more support.

The students put the probability cards on their desks. 
The teacher sheet needs to be visible to the class. It's a good idea to discuss the number of circles, triangles, and lightning bolts on the sheet. The fact that there is one triangle and one lightning bolt should be emphasized.

The children should view the quantities for each shape before the teacher cuts it apart. 
Cut out the shapes on the broken lines in view of the students.

Cut the shapes out on the broken lines. 
Put the
"shapes cards" in a paper bag. (A brown lunch bag will work well.)

Put the shapes in a paper bag. 
Ask the students questions such as, "Is a lightning bolt more likely or less likely to be pulled from my bag when compared to a circle?" (less likely) As you ask your questions, students should respond by lifting up the appropriate card on their desks. After you have asked several questions, remove the lightning bolt and
the triangle. Do so within the children's view. Then ask questions
such as, "What is the probability of pulling a triangle from the bag now?" (impossible) "What is the probability of pulling a circle from the bag now?" (certain)
Return the lightning bolt and the triangle to the bag. Then tell the class you are going to conduct an investigation. You will pull a shape from the bag and record the results on the board. (Make 10 recordings for best results.) Return the shape to the bag before drawing another shape.
This will maintain consistent probability results which is derived from
the original data of 8 circles, 1 triangle, and 1 lightning bolt. When you are finished, the results that were recorded on the board can be discussed to reinforce students' understanding.
The second probability activity uses the sheets called, "Sweet Probability Hearts", "My Sweet Data", and "Probably Pink . . . . I Think".
Start with the "Sweet Probability Hearts". Have the children color the hearts according to the specified colors.

Children color the hearts according to the specified colors. 
They then cut on
the broken lines.
The students will use the "My Sweet Data" sheet next. They read each question, and circle to appropriate number according to their hearts' colors. The purpose of the "My Sweet Data" sheet is to get the children to start focusing on the numbers for each color of the hearts as well as a color that is absent. (The "child" (me) answered two of the questions incorrectly in the photo below.)

The child answered the first and third questions incorrectly. There is 1 red heart. There are 8 pink hearts! (What was I thinking!) 
Next, the children will put their hearts in a paper bag.

Students place their red, pink, and white hearts in a paper bag. 
It's time to complete the "Probably Pink . . . . I Think" page. They will fill in the bubbles in response to the statements provided. There are two options. There is a choice for "A" or "B". Visual learners might need to see the hearts in order to respond to the statements. If that is the case, the hearts should remain outside of the bag.

Students respond to the statements provided. 
It's time for the students to draw hearts out of their bags! Each time they pull a heart out, they record their results. They color one of the hearts at the bottom of the page according to the heart color drawn from the bag. They then return the heart to the bag (just as the teacher did when using the shapes). They continue this procedure until the hearts at the bottom of their sheets are colored. It's important that they return the hearts to the bag, after each draw.

Students take a heart out of the paper bag. They then record (by coloring) their findings. 
2. Graphing
The graphing begins with the page called, "A Garden of Roses". Each student will need his own individual dice for this. If you don't have dice, I highly recommend getting a few packages for classroom use. I purchased my dice at a dollar store. By the way, dice are great for subitizing practice!

Dice is great for subitizing practice! 
The key printed on the sheet indicates the color needed. Students roll the dice, then color the first rose accordingly.

Students continue to roll dice and color roses until their "garden" in complete. 
They continue rolling the dice, and coloring the roses as they go along.

It's a roll of the dice! 
The finished sheets are now their data sheets! They'll need to use the data sheet to record information on their graphs.

This is the data collection sheet.

* Some students might be able to tell you what the probability for any given color would be from the dice roll.
Students use their "A Garden of Roses" sheets to record information on the graphs. For this, I chose a bar graph in vertical form.

I created a bar graph in vertical form. 
The photo below shows a finished bar graph using the data collected from the "Garden of Roses" sheet.

Students transfer their data from "A Garden of Roses" on to the graph. 
3. Problem Solving
I wrote a few short stories and created questions for each. I made this into a little problem solving book. I left space at the bottom of each page for the students to draw a few sketches to help them solve the problems with. The pages from the book need to be folded in half as shown in the photo below:

Fold the pages in half. 
They then need to be stapled together:

Staple.   
I completed a readability check on the sum of the text from my stories. I discovered that they were measured as a third grade level. This was too high! I found out that the level could easily be dropped. This was done by changing a few of the proper nouns and adjusting a few other words. I was able to bring the reading level down to second grade. This is still too high for first graders. Therefore, I recommend that the "stories" be read to the children by an adult. The pages from the book are shown in the remaining pictures. Please note that the text was not changed when the photos were shot. The outcomes to the problems did not change.
One key problem solving strategy is to draw pictures or make a sketches.
I think the expression goes something like, "There are many roads to the
same destination."
Apparently this is true with math as we encourage
our young learners to find their own ways to solve problems.
We allow them to see that there is more than one process to finding the solution.
We accentuate comprehension instead of algorithms.
They discover that math can be creative!
I hope you have a great Valentine's day week with your students. If you are interested in the packet I've shown you, click on the picture below see it at my Teachers pay Teachers store.
Lessons by Molly © 2015 All rights reserved.
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