Computation Lesson Ideas

  • use raisins and cheerios to demonstrate addition. If the student has 2 raisins and you give them 3 more, how many do they have now?
  • add different colours of Smarties together
  • create word problems about Smarties
  • Ask your child to help you solve everyday number problems. “We need six tomatoes to make our sauce for dinner, and we have only two. How many more do we need to buy?” . “You have two pillows in your room and your sister has two pillows in her room. How many pillowcases do I need to wash?” . “Two guests are coming to eat dinner with us. How many plates will we need?”
  • Make up games using dice and playing cards. Try rolling dice and adding or multiplying the numbers that come up. Add up the totals until you reach a target number, like 100. . Play the game backwards to practise subtraction.
  • Play “Broken Calculator”. Pretend that the number 8 key on the calculator is broken. Without it, how can you make the number 18 appear on the screen? (Sample answers: 20 – 2, 15 + 3). Ask other questions using different “broken” keys.
  • Make a family chart by graphing the number of family members in each child's family. Ask each child to name each member of his or her family, and hand out a strip of paper for each family member named. Invite each child to place the strips on the chart and say, I'm adding____ people to the chart. When everyone has had a turn, count out loud the total number of strips.

    • Gather children in a circle. Together, count the number of children in the circle. Then play "Cat, Cat, Mouse." The "cat" will walk around the circle until the teacher says "mouse." Whomever the "cat" is standing behind must leave the circle and join the "cat." Count the number of children left in the circle and explain that there is now one less. Repeat until you have an entire class of "cats."

    • make arrays of Smarties for multiplication
    • count how many equal groups of different colours there are in a box of Smarties
    • Practise “skip counting”. Together, count by 2’s and 5’s. Ask your child how far he or she can count by 10’s. . Roll two dice, one to determine a starting number and the other to determine the counting interval. . Ask your child to try counting backwards from 10, 20, or even 100.

          • If eight biscuits shared amongst four children gives two each, what about eight cakes? Or eight apples? Or eight pennies? Children who have not played with numbers in concrete form at a young age sometimes have no idea that eight of anything divided into four equal parts will always give two of them.
          • If your child likes playing with Lego, then the bricks are very useful manipulative tools for understanding about basic multiplication and division. If you want to put two-bricks along a thin 12-brick, how many will fit?Is it the same every time? Does it make any difference what colour the bricks are? Again, this may seem a ridiculous question from an adult perspective, but remember that a small child does not know automatically how numbers work.
          • If you play games like these, you will quickly come across the question of the remainder. Twelve horses can be equally shared between six knights, but what if you only have five knights? Or eleven horses? You may have come across this problem before, if you have a family of four, and buy a pack of six doughnuts. How can we share things when they don't divide easily?
          • Your child may ask what happens if you want to share one item - for instance a cake - between several children. You could, if you wish, start to explain how fractions work - the page fractions for four-year-olds might help you if you'd like some further ideas - or you could just say, simply, that you divide the cake into pieces, and share those.

               Computation Resources
    Jessi Lalonde,
    Aug 5, 2010, 12:30 PM
    Jessi Lalonde,
    Aug 5, 2010, 1:32 PM
    Jessi Lalonde,
    Jul 27, 2010, 11:24 AM
    Jessi Lalonde,
    Aug 5, 2010, 1:33 PM
    Jessi Lalonde,
    Aug 5, 2010, 1:34 PM