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Maths Observation Help Needed


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I'm being observed on problem solving with nursery children and need ideas of what I could do involving a train track, ideas of questions/challenges would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Making the track long enough for however many carriages the train has?

What about a train with fewer/more carriages?

 

Can't think of anything else...maybe someone else can!

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Introduce ordinal numbers for the carriages ie 1st, 2nd also positional lang is the red train infront or behind the green one ?etc.........

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I actually numbered the our train tracks so the children had to piece it together in the correct sequence.

Depending on what time you have to prepare, the children could make some stations out of boxes, number these and place along the track in the correct sequance. Maybe place corresponding number of passengers (little people) at each station, are there enough train carriages to hold all the people?

Have 3 stations, and equal number of carriages, leave one carriage at station one, 2 carriages at station 2, 3 carriages at station 3, how many carriages did they 'park' altogether? (obviously role model this first and adapt the level of the challenge to childrens levels). If the stations were placed along the track in descending order, ie: 3,2,1, would they still need the same number of carriages at the beginning?

 

2 boxes filled with train track, one with less in than the other. Which box do you think we should use to reach say the teachers desk, from a given point? ( estimates of volume & length)

 

 

Good luck Kermit, let us know what you do, won't you.

 

Peggy

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ooh had another idea.

A box with 10 short peices of track and a box with long pieces of track ( both boxes measure the same length when placed together). Let the children explore the difference between the size of tracks within each box, count how many in each etc.

Which box do you think has the longest track in it? Let's try, as the children place the tracks together,( parallel lines) repeat the question and see at what point the child realises they will be the same length. (Piaget - conservation of number)

 

Peggy

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Thank you for all the ideas. I think I'll try the stations idea or the which is the longest track investigation.........so much to choose from now!

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Peggy, do you think I could do these activities with reception children?

Tash x

 

 

Good question Tash, It really depends if these activities would 1/ interest your children, and 2/ be presented at their level. (ie: 1-1 correspondence prior to sets of 1,2,3 etc)

 

I used these activities in my preschool for 4 yr olds, however, I had a boy in our group who was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and another boy, who was Autistic, who was also mad about trains (Brio), locomotion and numbers. They had both spent many hours at home & preschool 'playing' and 'exploring' with trains, tracks and numbers so found the concept of guessing length / distance, or identifying written numbers, and placing in a sequance, quite easy. Other children observed, part interacted, played parallel at their level, individually or with adult guidance. The activities promoted mathematical (spl?) vocabulary / questions, the children weren't 'tested' on achievement of activity, rather observed as to how they used problem solving skills. Some reached this level others didn't, the ones that didn't still enjoyed the 'games'.

 

Does that answer your question :oxD

 

I'd say give it a go if you think the children will be interested, you don't even have to use commercially made trains and tracks, the children could make their own basic tracks and carriages (creativity, design and maths). All you need are lengths of card and some small boxes, plus some small play people.

 

Peggy

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