My Messy Room Revisited

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Students will be able to explain that a set group of items has the same number of items regardless of the configuration of the items.

Big Idea

Changing the configuration of items often confuses young learners. They may think the number of item changes. This lesson will help students understand that a set has the same number of items regardless of the configuration.


7 minutes

This lesson builds upon the previous lesson in this unit, organizing items in a ten frame.  To start the lesson, we revisit the story we read the day before, My Messy Room.  Please visit that lesson for directions on how to prepare the book to read to the students.

I gather the students around my big chair and show them the book.  Do you remember what this book's title was.  That's right!  It is called My Messy Room.  We are going to read the story again today, but we are going to look at it a little differently then we did yesterday.

I read the first page to the students.  I then read the second page to the students.  This time, instead of immediately asking a student to come up and rearrange the stuffed animals on this page, I say to the students.  We are going to count the animals first.  Let's count them together.  I point to each animal and count with the students.  I then say, I am going to pick someone to be my secretary.  Your job is to remember how many toys we just counted.  _________will you be my secretary.  How many toys did we count?  That's right.  Five.  When the animals were all clustered together, we counted five.  Can you remember that number for me?  Great!

I then call a student forward to arrange the animals in the ten frame.  When the student is done, I invite the class to count with me.  1-2-3-4-5.  Hmmm.  There are five stuffed animals.  Secretary, how many did we get when we first counted them?  That's right.  Five.  So it was five when they were all grouped together and five when they were put on the shelf.  It is the same number.

I repeat the process on the next two pages, assigning different students to be my secretaries. I then say to the kids, I am noticing that the number of items in each group is the same when they are in a group or put on the shelf.  That's pretty cool.  I finish reading the book and then we move over to the SMARTBoard for the next part of the lesson.


10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMARTBoard.  If you have a SMARTBoard, the Same Number - Different Configuration Notebook File can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.

I gather my students in front of the SMARTBoard.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMARTBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.


Content Objective

I can show how a group has the same number of items no matter how it is arranged.

Language Objective
I can show a friend how a group has the same number of items now matter how it is arranged.


Slide 2: I want to figure out how many cars are in this group.  I can count them when they are in a group and write down the number.  I point and count each car, inviting the students to count with me.  I write down the number in the space provided. 

Now, I am going to move the cars into the ten frame and count them again.    I move the cars.  After they are in the ten frame, I again invite the students to count with me, touching each one as I count. (The touch-and-count is critical.) What do you notice about the numbers?  That's right!  They are the same.  It doesn't matter how the cars are arranged.  As long as I don't add any or take any away, the number stays the same.

Slide 3:  Now let's do the same thing with the fish toys.  Using my name cards, I invite a student to come up and count the fish in the group and record the number.  I then invite someone to come up and and move the fish into the ten frame.  (I remind them to start in the top left corner of the ten frame).  Another student is invited to come up and count the number of fish in the ten frame and record the number.   

Slide 4: Repeat the same as slide 3.

Slide 5:  We have been organizing everything with a ten frame.  What if we just put the items in a straight line?  I invite a student to count and record the number of bears in a the group.  I then invite another student to move the bears into a straight line and count them.  The students may need some assistance understanding what a straight line is.  Another student comes up to the SMARTBoard and counts the number of bears and records that number.  I then say, See, it doesn't matter how the bears are arranged.  I will always get the same number. 

Slide 6: To help develop language skills, it is turn and talk time.  I say to the students, I have a group of dogs.  One time, I put the group in a pile.  Another time, I put them in a ten frame.  With your partner, discuss which one has more?  The dogs in the ten frame or the dogs in the group at the bottom of the page.

After giving the students time to discuss the question, I ask for their thoughts.  I hear, "There the same!"  I say to the students, that right.  It doesn't matter how I arrange the items.  As long as I don't take away or add any, the number will stay the same.

Guided and Independent Practice

10 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need copies of the Same Number Different Configuration Activity Sheet.  You will also need manipulatives for each student to use.  I count out the following manipulatives and place them in Dixie Cups that I reuse multiple times.  You could also place them in zipper storage bags.  The following is how many of each manipulative I count out per student:

6-bears per cup/student

9-frogs per cup/student

4-1" cubes per cup/student.

You could substitute any manipulative and alter the activity sheet accordingly.

I pass the activity sheet out to the students and instruct them to put their name on the top.  I tell the students, We are going to count some items.  First we are going to arrange them in a group and count them.  I want you to take the bears from your cup and put them in a group in front of you.  Do not put them in the ten frame yet.  Do you have them in a group?  Now I want you to take and count the bears.  If you need to move them away from the group as you count them, that's just fine.  How many bears did you count?  Six?  Okay, write that number inn the first box under the bear.  Now, put the bears on the ten frame.  Make sure you start at the top left.  (Allow time for students to arrange the bears on the ten frame). 

Now, let's count the bears together, ready..1-2-3-4-5-6.  There are six bears.  Is that the same number that you got when you counted them as a group?  Yes!  It doesn't matter how the bears are arranged, we still get the same number. Now, let's put the bears back in the cup.  (I quickly collect the bears and then pass out the frogs)

I want you to do the same thing for the frogs.  First you are going to arrange them in a group and record the number, then I want you to put them on the ten frame and record the number.  I circulate throughout the room, observing the students'.  When everyone is done, we discuss their results.  Now, put the frogs back in the cup and I will pass out the cubes.

I collect the frogs and pass out the cubes.  I have the students again repeat the process with the cubes.  When they are done, we discuss the results.  Instead of collecting the cubes immediately, I ask them a few more questions to reinforce the concept of different configuration, same number.  I say, How may cubes did you get when you counted them as a group?  Okay, how many did you get when you put them in the ten frame?  Still four?  Now, I want you to stack the blocks, one on top of another.  How many did you get?  Four again?  Lets put them in a row and count.  How many are there?  Four!  That's right.  It doesn't matter how the blocks are arranged.  No matter what way we arrange them, there will always be four blocks in this group.  As long as we don't add any or take any away, the number of blocks will stay the same.