Today in 1st grade math, the children explored fractions with some homemade play dough. It was a fun way to introduce what can be a very challenging concept for many children. Before taking out the play dough I used some fun wooden food items that have been cut into fractions to introduce the concept. This really helped visually demonstrate what a fraction of something looks like and showed that fractions of a whole need to be equally divided. Then out came the play dough. First graders LOVE play dough! The children used their shape mats as a guide for the placement of their play dough and then used a plastic knife to cut the shape into fractions. We focused on 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4. Following the hands-on experience, the children did some follow-up work so that I could tell which learners got it and which ones need a little more instruction.
This week the first grade students spent some time examining and comparing coins. They sorted them and looked for clues that might help them remember their name and value. Then for each type of coin they compared how many it would take to total $1.00. A great way to reinforce their understanding is to have them sort and add coin values at home. They were very excited to sort and add the plastic money. They will love getting their hands on some real coins.