Math Centers - Introducing Addition

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Students will be able to independently practice graphing, teen numbers, comparing weight and addition.

Big Idea

In order to pull small groups during math instruction, the rest of the students need engaging activities that they can complete independently. These centers allow students to practice a variety of math skills including addition.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Choose two objects.  Which object is heavier?  How do you know?

On the Notebook file, I have pictures of 6 objects.  I have these objects available in the front of the room.  I also have the balance available and in a place that is easily in view of the students.  If you do not have a SMART Board, you can use the PDF or just show the objects. 

I have one student come up and answer the question.  I then ask another student to agree or disagree and explain why.  If neither student picks up the objects, I ask "Is there a way that you can confirm that ____ is heavier?"  If neither student gets or asks for the balance, I ask "Is there a tool that you can use to confirm that ____ is heavier?"  I am looking for students to show and explain how they got their answer (Mathematical Practice 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others).  I am also looking for students to choose and use a mathematical tool appropriately (Mathematical Practice 5: Use appropriate tools strategically).  

Introducing Centers

25 minutes

I use math centers in my classroom as a way to reinforce the skills that are being taught.  Students are able to practice the skills we are currently working on as well go back and revisit the skills taught in previous units.  The math centers give students a chance to work independently or with their peers to complete a task.  The students are not just learning and practicing number skills, they are also working on social skills including taking turns, sharing, and working cooperatively.  Having students working in centers also allows me time to pull small groups of students to my table to work on skills specific to their needs.

I have the students move into a circle.  I remind students to sit on the floor so that there is space for everyone.  I bring up all of the center trays.  I explain and model how to complete each center.  This week's centers are:

Lucky Charms Graph- (Available for free on Teachers Pay Teachers - you'll need to set up an account)
Pot of Gold Teen Numbers (Available for free from Making Learning Fun- Just add the teen numbers)
Counting Bears Addition (Available for free on Kelly's Kindergarten- It is listed as Teddy Bear Counters Activity Cards.  The addition cards start on page 10.)
What's Heavier? Comparing Weight  (Available for free from Kelly's Kindergarten)
Addition Sports Balls  (Available for free from Kindergarten Crayons)

Each center is explained in the video located in the next section.

Explanation of Centers

The following centers are kept in a stack of plastic drawers in my classroom.  Each drawer has a number on it which corresponds to the numbers on the student tables.  The students take the center out of their numbered drawer, compete the center and return it to that same drawer when it is time to clean up.

Click on each center below to see a video explanation.

Addition Sports Balls

Counting Bears Addition

Pot of Gold

Lucky Charms Graphing

What's Heavier? - Comparing Weight


20 minutes

Once I have introduced all of the centers, I have the students go back to their seats.  I remind students of our center rules.  Students need to work quietly and stay at their seats.  Materials need to remain on the table and be cleaned up quickly and quietly when the clean up song comes on.  I call up one student from each table to come back and get their center.  I circulate through the room to make sure that all of the centers are being done correctly.  We have been doing centers for a while now, but I don't pull groups because of the two addition centers.  Addition is the unit we are just starting, and I know that the students doing these centers will need some assistance.  Five minutes before time is up I count down from 5 and say "Freeze."  When I say this, all students stop what they are doing, put their hands on their heads and look at me.  This is a procedure that we use throughout the day.  I say to students, "You have about five minutes left.  Remember when the clean up song comes on, you need to quietly put all of your materials back in your container and return it to the math center drawer.  It needs to be in the drawer that matches your table number."  I let the students work for five more minutes and then turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean. There are many wonderful transition songs to be found, for free, online if you'd like to use music for transitions too. Students clean up and return to their seats. 

Students Working:

Bear Counter Addition
Pot of Gold Teen Numbers
Addition Sports Balls
Lucky Charms Graph
What's Heavier? Comparing Weight