Monday, June 17, 2013

Everyday Math: Keeping Score with an Abacus

I am always secretly thrilled when I notice the sneaky ways my son is learning and practicing what he knows through play and everyday activities. Have you ever noticed how many learning opportunities can be found in one day? So often, they are the simple things that you could easily overlook. But once seen, these little things can be springboards.

Scorekeeping with an Abacus- Get your kids to practice counting, skip-counting, addition, and subtraction without it feeling like practice!

I recently noticed one of these opportunities while playing a card game with R. Game time is a learning opportunity in itself, of course. No matter what game is played, a lesson in sportsmanship is always possible. And because I use game time as a chance to model good behavior for both winning and losing, we often keep score. 

This particular day, R decided to keep score using his abacus. As he moved and counted the beads, I was struck by the learning potential. He was counting and subtracting as he tallied up the score and discovered who was ahead and by how much. This small activity was adding a math element to another part of his day without him even realizing it. 

To take this a step further, I suggested we make each game won worth more points. Instead of each hand being worth one bead, now they were worth two. Who would be the first to get to 20 points? Now he was practicing skip-counting. The abacus is perfect for skip-counting because it's a very hands-on way to practice. And he loved practicing! 

Don't have an abacus? You could keep score on a piece of paper or chalkboard instead. That would be a great reason to practice tally marks!

What are some ways you encourage learning through play?

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  1. Great idea!....What card game is your son playing?

  2. Light bulb moment here! I am so incorporating this idea into my kindergarten classroom. Love it!

  3. NicoleMama3: We were playing Go Fish with his speech flash cards. We play games to practice his articulation and that day he was working on the medial "l" sound. We love those cards!


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