For the past few weeks English Class second graders have been learning about numbers between zero and one hundred. The second graders began their studies with bead strips. They crafted long strips of beads on the floor by grouping the beads in tens. They skip counted by tens back and forth, as well as by fives back and forth.
Next the pupils used abacuses. They discussed the similarities and differences between their bead strips and the abacuses. Together they practiced all sorts of counting exercises using their abacuses.
Since the beginning of school the second graders wondered about the blue pocket chart that has been hanging at the back of their classroom on the bulletin board. The mystery was finally solved when the children learned from their teacher, Ms. Kati, that it is a pocket chart for 100. One by one the children placed numbers in their proper places. Even numbers needed to always be placed with the red side facing upward. The odd numbers were to be white. This required some thinking and occasional consultation amongst the children, but in the end, all of the numbers found their proper places.
Ms. Kati asked the pupils lots of questions about the hundred chart and then finally, every pupil received a hundred chart to glue into their own math notebook. By answering questions they worked their way up the columns and down the rows to discover certain patterns. Then, using small pieces of coloured transparent plastic, the pupils pinpointed certain numbers and coloured them in. For example, Ms. Kati asked, “What number is ten more than this number?” “What number is ten less than this number?” Pupils also practiced mental math skills and showed a number card with the correct answer. The pupils participated eagerly in the exercises.
In the second collage photo above, English Class second graders can be seen working on place value with green ten rods and yellow unit cubes. What is yellow, and what is green, and what happens when there are ten yellow units? How can you make one hundred? These activities and lots more like them are giving our second graders a firm foundation in mathematical proficiency.