An Algebraic Thinking Lesson in First Grade
At first I was the dance director, eventually students could direct each other. This simple activity helped spark conversation about where the biggest number went for addition and subtraction.
The Turn Around Dance
This year, I had an intervention group of third graders that struggled with basic addition and subtraction. Some of them would tell me that addition was fine but they hated subtraction. When I told them that knowing how to add meant that they knew how to subtract, they didn’t believe me. After teaching them the turn around dance, they asked if they could do it again the next day.
|Flashcards in Color or B&W|
Eventually, I wanted to move them from whole group instruction to partner and independent work, and that is how my Addition and Subtraction to 18 Fact Families packet was born.
Each day, the students had 6 triangle flashcards to practice.
At first I gave them a scaffolded worksheet so the spot where the largest number went had a circle. I wanted them to focus at first on the concept that addition made things bigger and subtraction made things smaller.
Numbers as Manipulatives
In the beginning, I had them demonstrate at least one fact family with manipulatives when they wrote the numbers.
Eventually they moved on to the worksheet that wasn’t scaffolded. Then, they moved to white boards.
The students eventually told me how easy it was. The numbers became manipulatives they could move around and the commutative property began to become second nature to them.
|I loved how these girls decided to categorize addition problems and subtraction problems.
Patterns are so helpful in math.
Later in the year, I had a group of first graders with the same objective. While the objective was on grade level for them, they took FOREVER cutting. So, I didn’t have them cut them out before working.
|Once the concept was solidified, we moved from worksheets to whiteboards.|
|The first graders loved drawing the triangles.|
|What is more fun than having your teacher take a picture of something you are proud of?|
Even though I used this resource a few times this year, I just uploaded it for you this week. I like to make sure it is really ready for sharing.
Take a look at these posts about fact fluency!