Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Math Fun for Older Ones! (Ages 6-9)

Today's post is about some neat and inexpensive ideas of fun for children, ages 6-9, for Halloween themed math fun!

To do these activities, you will need to do the following:

1. Find a large assortment of Halloween themed manipulatives, such as mini erasers or plastic rings that are meant to be Halloween party favors.

2. Make or purchase the following charts:
Venn Diagram paper chart or Venn Diagram math tray...
Sorting paper chart or sorting math tray...
Graphing paper chart or graphing math tray...

Here is a link to the Lakeshore Learning math trays. We have these trays. The boys love using them!

3. You will need:
Some paper, pencils, and various bins, jars, and baskets for the erasers.

4. For a more Montessori-inspired setting, you may also wish to add the Hundreds Board, Fraction Circles, wooden trays, and self-check charts for the Control of Error for these activities. This way, as the child works through the activity, he or she will be able to check to see if their answers are correct. For the activities that involve using the Hundreds Board, the Hundreds Board also inherently works as the Control of Error for this work, as there is only room for one eraser per space on the Hundreds Board.The same is true with the Fraction Circles. The wooden trays are so that the child can easily carry his or her work to their work space with ease.

For the set-up for each math work, determine whether or not your child or children are familiar with the following math concepts. Make the call if this concept is new and will require a mini lesson on how to do the work or if it is a skill that they already know how to do...

Have the child go through the Halloween erasers and set them into groups.
For a child who still needs a very concrete experience, you can use your Fraction Circles with this work. Have the child stack the erasers on the Fraction Circles to get the hang of how to determine the fractions.You could also have a child use your set of Fraction Skittles if you do not have Fraction Circles. To do this, have the child set up the Fraction Skittles, then, behind each section of the skittle, the child should place one eraser. Either way, whether you use Fraction Circles or Fraction Skittles, the child gets to see the one to one correspondence for each part of the fraction.
If a child has yet to learn how to simplify fractions, you can do a mini-lesson after they have grouped their erasers. For a child who already knows how to simplify fractions, you can have them simplify after they figure the initial amounts.
For a Variation of doing fractions work, if you have fractions dice, you can have the child roll the dice on their tray and then, do then problem using the erasers. Then, depending on how proficient they are with fractions, they could add, subtract, multiply or divide the fraction amounts rolled on the dice.
They also could play a game where the first roll is their roll and the second roll is the challenge roll. They can then compare if their roll is greater than or less than the challenge roll.

You can either have the child convert their fractions into decimals or else, for a more concrete experience, you can use the Hundreds Board. Have the child place one eraser on each block of the hundreds board in random order...some children may decide that it will be easier to place each type of eraser into groups on the board...others might choose to keep the board random but will then figure out how many out of 100 are a particular type of eraser by counting the various types of erasers one group at a time.

Pretty much the same as above, converted into a percentage...

Give the child the basket or bin of erasers and see if they can make some multiplication facts out of the piles.

Have the child try to make division facts using the may want to pull out your division facts box for your child to refer to, to make sure that they have covered the different facts.

If the child is familiar with estimation, have them estimate how many erasers are in each bin, basket, or container.
For estimating how many are in a filled container, you can use a large amount and then, see how they work through trying to estimate the total.
You can have an older child or a child who understands the concepts behind estimation to give some pointers to a younger child who has not had a lesson on estimation yet.
Clear containers, whether they are glass or plastic, work best for estimation work.
Mason canning jars, applesauce jars, spaghetti sauce jars, and leftover Rubber-maid type containers, etc. work well...
You can also do the reverse of this by having them start with an empty container and having them estimate how many erasers they think will fit into the container. Empty single serving applesauce cups and baby food jars work well for this estimation activity...
Both of these activities also reinforce the concept of re-purposing and re-using containers, so bonus there!

Solve for X
Using a different eraser for each problem, solve for X.
Set up problems for your child for any of the operations where the eraser represents X.
3rd Grade Gridiron made super cute Halloween flash cards where the child has to solve for X for both multiplication and division problems. We had already done solving for X using the erasers so it was a great transition to then have Big Bro solve for X using these adorable Halloween themed cards.
If you have not checked out 3rd Grade Gridiron and you have a child around the age of a third grader, be sure to check out her lovely blog! She has some wonderful freebies and really neat ideas!

For a concrete graphing experience, the graphing math tray from Lakeshore Learning is excellent, as the child literally places one in each space on the graph.
The graphing tray literally work as a Control of Error, as there is only room for one eraser per space.
For a child who is more comfortable with a more abstract version of graphing, the child can make a paper graph on chart paper.
For graphing work, limit it to say five different types of erasers...then, have them graph how many there are of each type.
Again, if a younger child has not had much experience with graphing, this is something that an older child can easily model for a younger child...

Venn Diagram
The Lakeshore Learning Venn Diagram math tray is a very visual, very concrete way for a child to lay out how the erasers are alike and different.
If a child is new to doing Venn Diagrams, you can intentionally limit what is in the bin or on the tray for them to compare and contrast...

Depending on where you particular child is at with these math skills, you can design mini-lessons similar to how you would do a Montessori math presentation.

Hopefully, your child will enjoy doing these fun, Halloween themed math activities as much as Big Bro has been enjoying doing them! 

In case you are looking for Halloween fun for little ones, ages 3-6, here is a link that shows you all of my Halloween and fall themed posts, many of them featuring ideas for younger children. 

Hope that you find these ideas helpful! Happy fall fun!

I was not asked by Lakeshore Learning to highlight the math trays mentioned in this post. Rather, wanted to tell you about them, as we have them and love them! One of the best math purchases ever! You can use them for all sorts of subject areas beyond just math, too. 
Regarding mentioning the Hundreds Board, the Fraction Circles, and the Fraction Skittles: 
Again, these are materials that we have and use for these sorts of math works. 
Ours are not necessarily the same brand as the ones I have listed. I just did a search and found ones that have direct links to similar products like the ones we have in our home.


Leptir (NataĊĦa) said...

Colleen, your post is so interesting! Thanks for sharing :)

Deb Chitwood said...

I love your creative ideas for Halloween math activities for 6-9 year olds, Colleen! I linked to your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and in my Montessori-Inspired Halloween Activities post at A lot of people wonder about activities for elementary-age kids. We'd love it if you'd link up your Montessori posts with Montessori Monday!

Ewa said...

Dear Colleen,
Thank you for this great collection of math activities. I would definitely give them a try :-)

Dana said...

Thanks for the shout out, Colleen! Love your blog!

3rd Grade Gridiron

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