We have been very busy during math time the past few Katie Days. We finished up our work on measurement by working on capacity and volume, did some subtraction activities and started an investigation into probability.

For capacity we first did an experiment where I asked the learners which cup would hold more water, a tall skinny glass or a short stout one. Almost everyone said the tall glass because it’s bigger. There were many oooh’s and aaah’s as we learned that taller doesn’t necessarily mean it holds more. We then took a variety of containers and predicted how many cubes would fit in each container and then counted them. We then brought these skills to an Estimation Station where we guessed how many items (beads, beans, erasers, etc…) were in a container and used Ten Frames to organize our counting.

For our subtraction activities we made gumball machines with a certain number of gumballs and then “ate” a certain number and wrote the corresponding subtraction equation. We also went “bowling” using a marble to knock down dominoes and then counted how many dominoes we started with, minus how many were knocked down to equal how many were left standing. We also brainstormed a list of all the subtraction key words such as less than, find the difference, remaining, take away, decrease and fewer than.

Our work on probability started with a discussion of the Starry Night Raffle. Would I be more likely to win if I had my name in the box one time, or ten times? We learned about the differences between possible, likely, probable, improbable and impossible. This moved into our talk about odds, and we did some coin-flipping activities to talk about the chances of getting heads and tails. Lastly, learners were given a certain number of coins and came up with the combinations of heads and tails (for example, for five: 5/0, 4/1, 3/2. 2/3, 1/4 and 0/5) then tossed the coins to see if they missed any combinations. We then discussed which combinations were more probable than others (Are you more likely to roll all heads or all tails or a 2 and 3 combo?)

First grade math time has been spent continuing our work on telling time. First we discussed the differences between digital and analog or face clocks. We discussed the differences between the hour hand and minute hand and learned about the two ways to read time at the half hour. (4:30 and half past 4) and on the hour (4 o’clock and 4:00). We will continue to work on time, as this can be a tricky concept for first graders. By the end of our activities on time, the first graders should be able to read clocks to the nearest hour and half hour.

We have been studying symmetry lately and making African masks in art seemed like a like culmination of our work. First I read the book Spot the Leopard, an interesting book that discusses the different types of ceremonial masks and how they reflect the culture of their tribes. Then using glued-on pre-cut pieces of construction paper and feathers, we made symmetrical designs on pre-cut masks. Many of the learners copied the African masks folklore by representing various animals.

For art we also did a color value lesson based on the book Miss Rumphius. After reading the story we talked about how Miss Rumphius planted lupines in her town to make the world more beautiful. Learners made pastel-shaded backgrounds in warm colors and then, using their fingerprints, made lupines in cool colors.

First grade Language Arts time was spent on some short vowel activities and then some long vowel work, specifically with the silent E, often called the “Bossy E” because it “bosses” the vowel and changes it from a short to a long vowel (for example: note vs. not). We also did some summarizing work, talking about the beginning, middle and end of stories.

Enjoy these photos of the last few “Katie Days”: