There are some very easy ways to weave in numeracy skills into whatever the children are interested in as they play and explore. As a teacher, my challenge is to pay attention and look for those opportunities.
An important foundation for math learning is developing a strong number sense. As concrete learners this is most practically done by using manipulatives. Using whatever the children are interested in at the moment makes working on math skills very practical.
We can count walnuts.
We can count leaves.
We can count sticks.
We can count felted balls.
Learning to skip count is foundational to learning math facts. We practice skip counting together in different ways. Some of the younger students only go so far, and then they can listen to the older children as we count by 2s, 5s, and 10s.
We can keep a score by skip counting how many times we hit a target with a walnut when each hit is worth 5 points.
Or, calculate a score by subtracting the number of squares back from the target in a carnival game made from magnatiles.
We can calculate the change for a purchase at the rock store or the stick store.
We can measure the diameter of a tree and compare one tree to another.
We can make fractions from sticks and discover that as we go from 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, 8ths, 9ths to 10ths the stick gets smaller and smaller.
We also play games with dice and dominoes and work with spatial puzzles.
The expedition friends are reading two math books right now. One is called Math Fables by Gregory Yang which is helping us learn our addition facts using stories about animals. This inspired us to work in groups to make our own math fables about a magic trick, sister tigers, and leaves.
Another book we are reading is called The Best of Times by Gregory Yang. The older expedition friends and a couple of the younger expedition friends are learning some tricks for multiplying with this book and using these tricks to solve some really challenging math problems.
The children are learning that math is practical, and that math is fun!