4+4=8 known fact. Knew 6 was even and so is 8. Counted up by 2s from 8. This sculpture LOOKS like her strategy! pic.twitter.com/uNLkJ1rblh... I thought I might try them with the first graders to explore visual representations of complements of 10. I am fortunate to work with some amazing first grade teachers who allowed me to experiment.
— Mr. Harris (@Mr_Harris_Math) September 19, 2014
First we let the kids play around:
After about ten minutes, I called them all together. I showed them a chain that I had made and asked:
I asked them to turn and talk to a partner, and when I called on a student, I asked him to share what his partner noticed. They had quite a bit to say, including observations about the colors, the total number of links (10), and their arrangement. Some children saw 2 red, 6 yellow, and 2 red, others 4 red and 6 yellow. Others saw 5 and 5: 2 red and 3 yellow and 2 red and 3 yellow. I explained that they were now going to make chains of 10 links, but that they could use no more than 2 colors.
|This was a popular arrangement: alternating colors 5 and 5.|
|Everyone was able to make at least two chains. I added another stipulation after reviewing the results from the first class: once you had used a combination (5 of one color and 5 of another, for example), you could not repeat. This was because, out of 44 chains, 35 were 5 and 5 combinations, 5 were 10 and 0, and 4 were 6 and 4. I wanted representations of all the complements of 10. |
|The next step was to record the chain on a piece of paper. The first class drew only the links, while the second class recorded the number of each color used.|
This took about an hour. I collected their work and came back several days later with...
|...strips of paper to make paper chains!|
|The kids had to look at their original picture and create a paper chain. We asked them to attach an index card with a number model describing how they made 10.|
|The completed chains made for a colorful display, and a reminder of the complements of 10.|
Turns out the project had many benefits:
- Linking and gluing promoted fine motor skill development.
- Students had practice sorting as well as creating patterns.
- The process of turning their pictorial representations of the chains they had created with the plastic links into paper chains required an attention to detail.
Now that the students have the procedure down, they can begin to compose and decompose other sums. I know there are more links hiding in closets and collecting dust on shelves. Let's put them to use!