Monday, July 8, 2013

BOSS NUMBER - Addition and Subtraction

As we delve into the numerical representations of addition and subtraction, I introduced them to the concept of the BOSS NUMBER, the BIG number, who is in control, and the HELPER NUMBERS, who work together to equal the boss, and who the boss can take away.

They each chose a number after a few second introduction to BOSS and HELPER numbers.

The helpers had to join together, combine their efforts, ADD UP to equal the SAME as the BOSS number. 


1 + 2 = 3

BUT, the helpers are actually a GROUP when they combine, and either one can be first.

2 + 1 = 3



The BOSS number can decide to TAKE AWAY a HELPER number, and leave the other number behind.

This BOSS chose to take away, SUBTRACT, the number 1 from the HELPER GROUP, leaving 2 behind.



3 - 1 = 2


The number 1 was not so happy at being left behind when the BOSS number chose HELPER number 2 to SUBTRACT the next time.


This is a little different, concept-wise from how I was taught to think about addition and subtraction. My learning was much more an ephemeral idea of adding in and subtracting out numbers. This presents it more as specific movements within a closed set of units, a constant, not transitory, operation. 

As the little girls were stating on the playground today, 
with conviction,
"1+2=3, 2+1=3, and 3=3." 
Always. 


As we work with equalitities and inequalitites, we of course bring out our balance scale. Every possible visual and physical representation is important for their understanding. This is where worksheets just won't cut it. For true, in-depth, understanding of any language, including that of mathematics, children need immersion, context, and connection through relevance.
Tags: preschool, pre-k, first grade, 1st, grade, addition, subtraction, math, movement, play, based, learning, center, theme, unit, early

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