Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

How many Augustana math teachers does it take to construct a cardboard “store?”

Hello Trailblogian Followers!

Can you believe January is already over!?!?! I know I can’t. Anyways, to begin the week, or month in this case, the three math teachers, Colleen, Dana, and I, met with Mrs. Carmack for our typical Monday discussion and preparation meeting. This week, however, was even more exciting than last week, or stressful if you were to ask the other two math teachers. To help make the Penny Store activity[1] even more engaging for the kindergarteners, Mrs. Carmack purchased a large cardboard store the students can go into to sell their food products. The students will not only be able sell their food products, but will also be able to color and decorate the outside of the store during their art time throughout the week. Before the students are able to begin decorating, however, the “store” must be put together. Therefore, today’s preparation time consisted mostly of putting the “store” together.

So you think putting a cardboard “store” together, with directions I might add, would be easy, but it wasn’t. By the end of the preparation time of our meeting, all three math teachers were sitting on the floor trying to figure out what piece connected where, which piece folded this way or that way, and taping pieces back together after accidentally ripping them off. In other words, to answer the question, “How many Augustana math teachers does it take to construct a cardboard “store” for kindergarteners,” it’s three, along with some extra tape here and there to “fix it up.”

Penny Banks[2]

Student 1 – Alice

Alice found this activity very easy and was able to place the banks in numerical order, as well as put the correct number of pennies in each bank. After she completed the activity, I asked her a few “greater than/less than” questions (i.e. Is number 9 greater than or less than 5?). Because this was the first time the kindergarteners would have seen this question, I was extremely surprised that Alice was able to answer all of the questions correctly. In conclusion, I believe Alice is doing extremely well in mathematics because she is able to make connections to concepts, such as “more than/less than” questions, she has never heard before.

Student 2 – Amber

When beginning this activity, Amber was able to easily put banks 1-5 in order. As the activity progressed, however, I realized that she is unable to recognize any number after 5. After helping Amber place the rest of the banks in order, she began to place the correct number of pennies in each bank. After completing the first five banks, however, Amber was unable to read the number on the bank and would have to begin counting the banks from bank #1 to figure out what bank she was on. To assist Amber in counting so she would not have to start from bank #1, I would begin counting at two banks before the bank she was on (X-2). As I began counting, she was able to begin counting with me and figure out what number bank she was on (bank X). Another assessment I did of Amber during this activity, was that she was unable to remember what number bank she was on after bank #5, and would continue to count and put pennies in the bank she was on. Therefore, I am questioning whether or not Amber has cardinality or was just struggling with this activity. In conclusion, I was able to assess that Amber still struggles with number recognition and possibly cardinality.


[1] Penny Store Activity: The students are given multiple plastic food items marked at different prices from 1 cent to 12 cents. Placed in front of them is a chart with three different sections; less than (>), the same (=), and more than (<). The students then place their food items into the appropriate sections of the chart, depending on what item they choose to place in “the same (=)” section of the chart first.

[2] Penny Banks: There are 12 numbered containers (1-12), in which the students are suppose to place in numerical order. After placing the banks in order, the students will place same amount of pennies into the bank as it says on the outside.

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