Thursday, 15 January 2015

Throwback Thursday: Maths Centers in Senior Infants

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This week, I am re-posting a very popular post from 2012. The post was based on my first experience using Maths centers in my classroom. I used these in the morning time for 20 minutes as well as teaching my regular Maths lesson later on in the day. Using different centers to teach Maths was something I had been very weary about, considering I was the only adult in the room, and worried that I would not be able to support the children enough. I was pleasantly surprised however, to discover how well it went and how much the children enjoyed the activities.

Below are some of the Maths centers I chose to use in my classroom. I chose mainly activities based around the Number strand, as I felt this was the area they needed the most extra support in.
1.) Counting counters:
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Each child at the table had one of the above sheets with different numbers on it. There was a bowl of counters in the middle of the table. The children used the counters to add spots to the ladybird, add apples to the tree, etc. These sheets could be made using the numbers 1-10 but I felt at the end of the year that my students were well able to use numbers 1-20.

2.) More or Less Cubes: 
The children were given a bowl/bag of cubes each. Each bag/bowl had a selection of cubes in 2 different colours. They wrote the two colour names at the top of the sheet over each column. They had to close their eyes and pick a handful of cubes out of the bowl/bag. They wrote in the amount of each colour they picked out under the colour name on the top two lines. They circled the colour number there was more of. They repeated the exercise until the sheet was completed. (Trust me, it's easier than it sounds!)

3.) Making Number Necklaces:
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I gave each child at this table a sheet of the above sample and a jar of beads. They had to line up the beads around the shapes to make a 'necklace'. You can also have the children thread spools onto string for this exercise - just write numbers on masking tape and attach it to a piece of string.                                                                        
4.) Piggy Banks:
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The children at this table each got one of these sheets of piggy banks each and they had to fill them with coins left on the table. We made quantities of 2c - 10c using 1c, 2c, 5c and 10c coins.                                                                                                                                                   
5.) Race to Ten:
This is my favourite station as it is brilliant to use as an informal way of introducing take away and revising addition with infants. Each child gets a game board and each of them take turns around the circle to roll two dice. One dice has numbers 1-6 on it and the other has a mixture of + and - signs on it. If they get a +3 they put on three counters, if they get a - 4 they take away 4 counters from the board, etc. The first child to ten is the winner.
Note: I found some of these ideas on You can find lots more maths center ideas there based around topics such as colours, shapes, tessellation, etc.

These are just some ideas for Maths centers in your classroom. Maths centers provide a great opportunity for children to work on difficult topics, in a fun, hands-on way. As you get more adventurous, there is huge scope to create new centers involving bought Maths games, board games, shape hunts, colour hunts, Numicon, matching and sorting activities, etc. The most important thing is: don't be afraid of trying new things. While the concept of teaching through centers scared me at first, it was more than worth it in the end!

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