Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Kindergarten Math Strategies!

Since we introduced the iPod games to the kindergartners a couple of weeks ago, most of them are familiar with the games by now. On Friday I was working with some of the higher ability students so I decided that since they were comfortable with the games that I would ask them some questions in regards to the strategies they were using and  to think in different ways in regards to the iPod games.

The “What’s Hiding?” game has student count a certain amount of dots (1-5), then a box will cover the dots and select some or all of the dots to come out from the box. The game will ask the students “How many dots are still hiding under the box?” I had seen many strategies today that allowed the students to correctly identify how many blocks were still hiding that I thought were very different and interesting!

One of the students talked to herself out loud every step of the problem, so not only was she able to identify the correct answer, but I was able to see her thought process. Every time she would say, “there are x amount of dots”, “x amount of the dots came out from under the box”, “how many dots are hiding?”, and “there are x amount of dots still hiding”, which allowed the student to guide herself through the problem in order to get to her final solution. I thought to myself that this would be a great strategy to model to the students so that they even if they choose not to say the questions out loud like the one student, they will maybe learn to think them in their head as they are working through the problem. One of the main problems students have with this game, is not knowing what to do when the dots are dispersed from the box;however, if the students use these questions to help them get through the problem they will know what they are suppose to be asking themselves so they know how to come up with the correct answer.

Another game I played with some of the students was the “Pattern Sets” iPod game, which flashes a ten-frame with a certain amount of chips and then asks the students to identify the number of chips they saw. One strategy involved students pointing in the air and visualizing the chips they saw and counting them (so for example if they saw 5 chips on the top row and 3 chips on the bottom row they would count 1,2,3,4,5 and then move their finger down and count 6,7,8).  I find that this is a game where students either have a strategy and can obtain the correct answer or students simply guess. I tried explaining some of these strategies to the students who were simply guessing every time.

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