Boston Children's Museum
308 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
Math is a natural subject to fit into your everyday work with your students. The Mixing in Math curriculum, created by TERC (click here to visit the website), contains lots of great math activities that require little or no materials, and are easy to fit into what you are already doing. This activity, which is adapted from the Mixing in Math curriculum, helps children practice categorizing and data collection.
Ask your students to tell you what the following things have in common: horse, bear, monkey, moose. Some children may say “they are all animals”. Others may say “they are all mammals”; or “they all have hair”, or “they are all brown”. Some of these things are definitely true (they are for sure all animals and all mammals). But others might be up for debate—are all horses or bears brown? Choose one of the categories that children suggested (such as “animals” or “things with hair”), and ask the group to list other things that might fit in to that category. Then tell them that you are going to teach them a game that challenges them to name as many things in different categories as they can in one minute.
Play this game and name as many things as you can in just one minute.
After playing once, bring everyone together to discuss. How did they decide what fit into the category? For instance, if the category was “cereal”, did they decide that it needs to come in a box to count? What if you need to cook it? Are there any lingering items that teams could not agree on? Bring those to the larger group for discussion.
Send teams back to play again. If they would like, children can play different players.