Monday, January 21, 2013

Equal Shmequal

Have you ever looked at something in the hallway as you're taking your class to a special and thought...."I can do something with this!"?
This is the craftivity in the hall of our preschoolers that I thought....hmmm...
I can do something with this!

Especially with the cute video and blog I had read earlier in the day about greater than and less than...
If you've not seen this're in for a treat!
It comes from Ms. Carrol's "First Grade Parade" blog which I LOVE!!! follow me here...and don't ask how my brain was's a mystery!
We've been talking about the Common Core Math standards...
I've been trying to come up with ways to help the kids with 

1.OA.7  Understanding the Meaning of the Equal Sign
Understand the meaning of the equal sign
and determine if equations involving addition and subtraction are true or false. 
For example, which of the following equations are true and which are false? 
6 = 6, 7 = 8 – 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.

So I thought....what if I reduce the size of the snowman in the picture and 
his nose becomes the balance????
Each side of the snowman has to have the same number of snowflakes, 
but they can fall in different ways...make sense??
So we started with the craftivity...I made templates and we practiced our small muscle control and shape identification as we traced and cut out circles, trapezoids, rectangles, and one curvy triangle :)

Putting together the snowman was key...we had to make sure it was IN THE MIDDLE of the paper...whew...that was a tough one...and we had to build it from the bottom to the top starting with the trapezoid, placing the circle to touch the top of the trapezoid but not overlap, and adding the curvy triangle so that the tip of the triangle touched the top of the paper...last we could add the rectangles to create the scarf for the snowman and cover up the area where the circle and the trapezoid met...

Craftivity completed...time for small group practice with the concept!
We used cubes and put them in different combinations on one side of the snowman...
then created another way of making the same number on the other side of the snowman.
We used our expo markers and wipe off plates to record our findings!
Worked well for most...

...but for those that were still having some concept issues a wonderful teacher on my team suggested a whole group idea that was "da bomb!"...

We counted how many kiddos were in the room and then began to group ourselves in different ways...
all the kids with strips or patterns on their shirts  +  plain colored shirts
We recorded the number sentence on the white board on one side of the snowman 
(I drew for visual review)
Then we regrouped ourselves and had boys on one side and girls on the other side.
We recorded this number sentence on the other side of the snowman.
Then the discussion started...did anyone leave the room?
Did anyone come in?  How many kiddos are here...did we change the number or just change the way we counted the people in the room...Yeah...more light bulbs came on :)

Now to show what we know using our craftivity and some yummy snowflakes!

We used index cards cut into eighths...(yeah more math practice) ...
adding numbers and symbols to our index cards we manipulated and arranged "snowflakes" on each side of our snowmen to show different ways of the same number....
talk about fun!

For an informal assessment, I went to each child's snowman and gave them two digits on the one side...
They had to create a snowflake pattern to show me the total and then make a new number sentence on the other side of the snowman... 

What???? You have extra snowflakes and you'd like to eat them...sure!  YUM-O!

For the summative assessment....I created this snowman worksheet.  The kiddos were asked to use dot patterns to show the equation on the one side of the snowman and then create a new number sentence with dot patterns on the other side of the snowman.  
No zeros allowed....can't use the same numbers in the reversed pattern...

Click HEREfor a similar worksheet created and shared by Myca Bell.

This book just came into our'm thinking this will be a great way to reinforce the concept through literature...

The Utah Education Network has a great page of math games listed to go along with 

Monkey Vine is a great game you can download from the UEN using dominoes to help continue practice with the concept of equivalent equations...
Monkeys on a Vine
  1. Place 16 dominoes, eight matching, in the center of the work area face down. A matching domino is a domino with the same total number of dots in a different configuration.
  2. Players take turns picking two dominoes at a time to see if they can find two dominoes that match.
  3. If a player picks a domino match, one domino is placed on each side of the monkey vine to represent leaves on the vine. Draw the domino and write the equation underneath, (start at the bottom of the vine).
  4. Put the matching dominoes in a discard pile.
  5. Move the monkey so it is hanging by the equation. Move the monkey up the vine each time a domino equation is filled in.
  6. The game ends when the dominos are all gone or one player has domino equations to the top of the vine. The player with the highest monkey on the vine wins.

Ms. Arnold has a wonderful math station packet for sale on TpT right now with a great game called:
aligned to the Common Core to practice the true false part of the 

Be sure to hop over and check it out!


  1. Lol. I'm glad that I'm not the only one! With so few hours in a day- if I do anything cute and crafty I have to try to find a way to make it educational. I love this! Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. My partner across the hall made the snowman craft to go with the book The Snowman. This is a great extension for math. Thanks for sharing!
    Teachin' First

  3. SO cute!! :) Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Sugar and Spice

  4. I love this post! The snowman balance activity is awesome! I'm so doing this this week! Thanks so much for the shout out!

  5. My 1st graders loved this activity. It helped open the eyes for a few of them :) I featured you on my 365 Blog Hop Challenge. Keep up the great ideas!

  6. I loved this new blog on mathematics. I found your blog looking for ideas on capitalization and punctuation with 1st grade. Lately, I have been struggling with students seeing groups of ten and finding new ways to count on in both addition and subtraction. Any ideas in this area would be appreciated. I like your ideas of stepping outside the standardized curriculum to make mathematics instruction more engaging!

  7. Nice to meet you!
    I am your newest follower and happy I found your blog!
    Your snowman art incorporating math objectives is a fantastic idea! I am definitely trying that with my class!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe
    Celebrate and Join my 100th Follower Ultimate Giveaway: Skype Author Visit!

  8. I love your post on Equal Smequal, equivalent equations! I made a Promethean flipchart to go with the lesson. My students loved the activity and the lesson. Thank you for sharing.
    Cheryl Ritter