Translated from this post by Jane Kats.

*Recently, at our math lessons with 5-6 year olds, we were … threading beads.*

* Actually, we were making very simple abacuses.*

* We were putting 5 light beads and 5 dark beads on a string.*

* Then we played a game where the kids would hide some of the beads in their hands and I had to guess how many they hid of each color.*

* I was guessing correctly, and the five year olds were very surprised.*

* They can all count to 12, and many can count further, but they still don’t fully understand how I can know how many beads they are hiding in their hand…*

*Putting on the beads*

*Who can hide as many as I did?*

*Later, we played with these beads with the 4-year olds.*

*And at the math festival we also played with these beads on a string.*

*You can see some beautiful pictures from it here.*

*Now we are playing “a game of 10”.*

* The goal is to find a pair of cards that have a total of 10 black squares on them.*

*Each card has 10 squares, 2 rows of 5. Some of them are colored and the total number of colored ones is written in a corner of the card.*

*Hiding all but 6 beads on the string and seeing how many need to be added to make a total of 10.*

*It sounds easy, but many 6 year olds search for a while, pointing with their finger and going through the possibilities.*

* It is not obvious to them that if here we have 2 white ones and there 2 black ones then together there are precisely 10.*

*Eventually they find pairs that “work”.*

*I think that this is precisely one of those cases where one needs to realize and understand before memorizing.*

*Pairs that are found are given to me and then I give the students additional cards…*

*We also play games where to answer one needs to use fingers – say,*

* add fingers so that together we have 10.*

*With younger kids we first play add until we have 5, and that*

* too is not always easy.*

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About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.