Teaching Math in the Early Childhood Classroom: Fun With Math
written by: Keren Perles
• edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• updated: 9/11/2012
Are your students’ parents aghast that you're teaching math in the early childhood classroom? Tell them to think again. Even young children can learn and enjoy from these early childhood math lesson plans.
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Counting is the basis for most methods of teaching math in the early childhood classroom, and this lesson plan is no different. However, this lesson plan also explains how to help children build on the concept of counting to understand more difficult math concepts.
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Introductory Read Aloud
To begin these early childhood math lesson plans, read the book Count, by Denise Fleming. Encourage preschoolers to count along with the book, as well as to name the animals depicted in the bright drawings. Then talk about the concept of counting, including when it is useful for kids and how adults use counting in their everyday lives.
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Math Craft for Counting
Have children use stencils (or trace around jar lids) to cut out circles about the size of an adult’s fist from black construction paper. Call up each child one at a time to paste a circle onto a large piece of tag board, and make sure that the circles are lined up (e.g., two lines of five circles each). Label each circle with a number. Then, glue a cup next to each circle. If you’d like, you can make several of these posters for the class.
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Using the Craft
Give out small bags of buttons or beads to students, and show them how to count the appropriate number of items into each cup. Then, have them compare the number of buttons or beads to the number of beads glued onto the poster to check their answers. They can also build block towers on top of each number with the appropriate number of blocks in each tower.
You can also do demonstrations with this craft to show students the basic concepts of addition and subtract. For example, you can count two beans into the “two" cup, and then ask students how many beans you would need to add in order to transfer them to the “three" cup. Alternatively, you can take the beans from the “two" cup and the “three" cup and ask students which cup you would put them in if you would combine the beans.
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There Were Ten in the Bed
End these early childhood math lesson plans with a fun game. Have ten of the children lie on a large mat (or many mats) on the floor. Then, sing the song “There Were Ten in the Bed" and have them roll over and “fall off" (get off the mats) as they reach the appropriate parts of the song.