I wrote back in August about a great book I wanted to use during the first two weeks of school. It’s called “Which One Doesn’t Belong” and is written by Christopher Danielson. (You can read about that here.)
Today was an inclement weather day, meaning the busses were all cancelled. It was our second in a row, and we have actually had a lot this winter now that I am thinking about it. I needed to spend about an hour doing an activity with a bunch of kids (grades 1, 2 and 3), over half of whom are not in my class on a regular day. Actually, probably 3/4 of them aren’t in my regular class. I decided to pull this book back off the shelf.
I explained the concept and read the first few pages. I made sure that every child knew that on every page there would be 4 things, and they could think of at least one reason why three of those things would go to together, but one wouldn’t belong. I explained that there is not one right answer for each page, but what matters is justifying your own thinking so others can at least see what you mean, if not actually change their own mind. It’s great math! And it is also so interesting to see how children think. I have been through this book a few times now, and I am always amazed at how they come up with answers and justifications that I haven’t noticed.
After, I challenged them to create their own using LEGO, two colour counters, attribute blocks, colour tiles, and poker chips (I got them cheap – over 1000 in lots of different sizes and colours at Value Village. Best investment ever!) Here are a few:
I took photos and we projected them on the whiteboard so we could share our thinking. They LOVED it. This one with the dominos really intrigued me. I immediately saw kids doing some counting, but nobody used the counting in their answers. I decided to take that one a bit further. I wrote the totals on the board beneath each domino.
Several thought the 13 does not belong because they are all in descending order, but it is out of place. Some thought the 12’s do not belong because they each have a twin and none of the others do. Finally, several thought 9 does not belong because it is a single digit number (they actually said because it is less than 10 and the others are over, so I pointed out the single/double digit difference.)
It was a fun activity, and I think all of the students learned something!
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