“Learning about math calls for children to become immersed in lively experiences” says Marilyn Burns who is the author of many math books for children. Your students will enjoy these fun activities to teach even and odd numbers.
Gather the students together and share the book “Even Steven and Odd Todd” by Kathryn Cristaldi. This book is a good introduction to the world of odd and even. The children will quickly recognize the difference between the two cousins and lively discussions will take place as they see the different situations unfold.
Let’s Eat and Discover Odd and Even!
Divide students into groups of four. Give each student a container of M&M’s, or Smarties, or similar candies (make sure that each contains a different number of candies). Ask each student to “pair” up their candies. For each group have a chart with three headings. Number of Candies / Has a Partner / Does Not Have a Partner. Each child will fill in their discovery on the chart. After sharing their findings and “proving” whether the number is odd or even - eat the candies!
Provide each student with a sheet of paper with the outline of a pizza. On each section of the pizza print a number. Give each child a small container of gummy worms. Ask them to make up their own “Worm Pizza” by placing worms to match the number in each section, and then print the word “odd” or “even” in that section. For every correct response - eat the worms!
Teams Against the Clock
Divide the class into two teams. Give each member of the team two pieces of paper - one for odd numbers and one for even numbers. Set a kitchen timer for one minute and ask students to write down as many numbers as possible on the correct papers. The team with the most numbers (that are correct) wins. Repeat with just thirty seconds on the clock.
Everyday Odds and Evens
Use the attendance numbers each day to discover whether there are an odd or even number of students in class.
Print the date on the board and under each number print “o” if it is an odd number or “e” if it is an even number. Compare a whole week of dates. Is there a pattern?
Patterns in the Odds and Evens
Provide individual hundreds charts and ask students to color all the even numbers red.
Ask: What pattern do you see? What do you notice about every number in the ones place (0,2,4,6,8) Look at the pattern made by the numbers not colored (odd numbers). What do you notice about the numbers in the ones place? (1,3,5,7,9)
Invite students to take a handful of centicubes or other small interlocking blocks. Make two columns. Are they the same length? (even) Is one column longer than the other by one block? (odd) Record the findings on a chart. Repeat with another handful.
Present the students with simple addition equations. Ask if there is a pattern. Students will discover the following: even + even = even, even + odd = odd, odd + odd = even, odd + even = odd. Encourage students to try their own equations. For more advanced students try subtraction equations. What patterns do these produce?
Do We Live in Odd or Even?
Ask each student to draw and cut out a picture of their home. Print on the picture their name and the number of their house or apartment. Display their homes on a bulletin board under headings: We Live in Odd Numbered Homes / We Live in Even Numbered Homes. Do more people live in odd or even?
Taking part in these fun activities to teach even and odd numbers will help students see patterns in number and realize that math can be most enjoyable.
Quote: Burns,Marylin. I Hate Math. Yolly Bolly Press,1975