Tally Mark Straws
For this activity you will need two packages of different colored drinking straws. Line students up in the back of the classroom in two separate lines to form two teams; A and B. Students face the blackboard. Provide each student with a straw that has a piece of rolled tape on it so that it sticks to the board.
Set up the board for this activity by doing the following:
Write Tally Mark Straws on the top center of the board.
- Underline it.
- Draw a line down the center to create a T chart.
- Write Team A on one side of the vertical line and Team B on the other side.
Inform students that they will be taking turns adding tally marks as a song plays. When the song stops, the team with the most tally marks (crossed correctly at each 5th tally) wins. Tell students that each person walks quickly to the board, places the straw on their team's area to represent a tally mark, then comes back and touches the next person's hand; that person repeats the process. Students repeat these steps until the music stops. The team with the most tally marks correctly placed wins.
Helpful hint: Have a basket of extra straws with rolled tape on each ready for students who are going a second and third time to the board.
1st grade modification
Have a set of five tally marks already represented with straws for each team's playing area. Orally review the model set of tally marks for the students pointing out that the fifth tally mark crosses four tally marks before starting a new set. Inform students each one will add a straw to their team's playing area and everyone stops moving when the music stops playing.
Do not use a T chart. Place four straws on the board to represent tally marks. Model for students how the fifth straw is crossed over the four straws to respresent five. Allow students to take turns crossing the four tally marks. As each student is called up to the board, ask the following question: How many tally marks do the straws show? Students will say four. Tell the student to add the other straw to show five tally marks. Remove the straw after each student and give it to the next one called to the board.