tessellations with pattern blocks

The last few school days have gone sooo smoothly! Well okay, we had a couple meltdowns but Isaac snapped out of his pretty quickly, and Emma’s was a case of brief wigging out over her handwriting.  She’s a perfectionist and if it isn’t “perfect” or if she makes a mistake she tends to want to quit – we’re working on that!  Rewards and positive reinforcement help with that, as well as reminders that trying hard and making mistakes is part of learning (and mommy doesn’t have “perfect” handwriting either!).  But really, don’t you love those days where everything seems to go nicely, the kids are learning (happily!), and time seems to fly?

Today I’m going to focus on math since the posts containing ALL of our school subjects at once are overwhelming me lately.  ;-)

The kids played often with geometric shapes (I usually read their literature to them while they do this type of activity).  I recommend getting plastic pattern blocks rather than wooden because our magnetic wooden blocks had the paint peeling off of them after a year or so.  The plastic ones we have are holding up great, though!  I bought mine from Educents (deals on educational resources) when they had a sale but these (affiliate link) look good, too.

Emma copied the patterns on a blank piece of paper and then we learned a little bit about tessellations:

tessellations kindergarten

Not sure what tessellations are?  They’re basically a pattern that can be repeated forever with no holes or gaps (think the tiling on a floor).  Here are some fun tessellation activities for K-2 I found from the exploratorium website. If you’re interested in including tessellations in your child’s education, check out my hands-on math pinterest board for some additional ideas and lesson plans!

Learning coin values

We used this worksheet (only with real coins rather than cut-outs) to arrange and identify coins.  We also went over coin values again and they’re finally sticking!  I found the lyrics/tune of a coin song online and we sang (to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell”), “A penny is worth 1, a nickel is worth 5, a dime is 10, and a quarter 25” over and over.  Now both kids know the coin values.  :)  What is it about song that really cements things?  I still remember the grammar songs I sang as a kid that helped with the definitions of verbs, nouns, etc.  We also listened to the Addition Songs from Audio Memory throughout the last month.

We did a few more pages of McRuffy Math (follow that link to see some posts showing our experiences with it so far) but we’re planning to move on to a different math curriculum now.  My reasons:
1.  There’s really no independent work and I’m not a fan of that.  Almost everything is teacher-led.  The only thing I am able to give her to do herself is the patterns to copy with pattern blocks.  Don’t get me wrong, I think McRuffy is a great curriculum, but I’m seeing it’s not for us… at least at this point in time.
2.  I believe Emma is a combination of a visual and kinesthetic learner but more visual.  She loves to read instructions and finish on her own and McRuffy isn’t that type of math.
3.  Emma just isn’t excited about it at all.  She would rather do colorful math worksheets and I want to follow her lead in learning (especially at this age), so we will stick with the hands-on math activities I come up with along with a workbook next school year.  Thinking about using Horizons.

A few living math books we found at the library:

living math books

What kind of learner is your child when it comes to math?


3 Responses to K5 Math: Tessellations, Coin Songs, & Thoughts on McRuffy Math

  • What fun!!!

  • Tessellations are fun ~ both of my boys enjoyed those activities and I will have to check out those links for more ideas! :)

    If you go with Horizons I will be curious to see what you think. I made the (expensive) mistake of buying Horizons a couple of years ago (the older preschool set) and I loathed it… seriously! Emma may really like it though ~ it is funny how what works for one child is completely wrong for another. I am just crossing my fingers at this point that all of the curriculum we have will work for my younger boy too ~ oh how I hope they learn with similar styles. It definitely isn’t worth the battle if the kiddo’s hate it!

    • The preschool set? I didn’t even realize they had one! I looked it up and it looks like the worksheets are pretty basic, though… I think for preschool the hands-on stuff is much more fun. :) But you’re right, it does depend on the child’s response to the curriculum, and I’m guessing because your little guy is a little more advanced he was bored out of his mind with that. I wanted to get Horizons math after looking through a friend’s 1st grade book and Emma seemed to like it, but I know we wouldn’t do well with a bunch of workbooks – still going for a gentle CM style education.

      Oh, and I hope your youngest loves your math curriculum, too! That would be so sad if he didn’t. I know it’s expensive!

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