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During my placement in a grade 1/2 split classroom I had the opportunity to teach Mathematics. During my time in this classroom, the students were being introduced to skip counting by 5’s. Based on personal experiences with Math and everything I have learned about teaching it to primary and junior students, I know that manipulatives are incredibly valuable. For this lesson, I decided to create Math centers in which students could work hands-on with manipulatives to gain a true understanding of the value of 5 as well as how to skip count by 5s. 

My first center included skip counting with nickels. I found it interesting that most students did not know the value of a nickel and some had little to no experience with coins at all! After learning about the value of a nickel, students were provided with plastic coins and charts with various multiples of 5 (e.g. 50 cents, 20 cents, 45 cents etc.). Students then used the nickels to represent the totals listed on the chart. Overall, this center was very successful. Not only were students able to practice skip counting, but they also learned about the basic concepts of dealing with money. I will continue to use money as a manipulative in my future classrooms as I love that it provides students with real world connections to Math. 


The second Math center was called “lacing by 5s.” Students were provided with a paper plate with holes cut out that represent various multiples of 5 in random orders. Students then laced the string through the holes in the paper plate in the correct sequence of 5,10,15,20 etc. If the paper plate was laced up correctly the students ended up with the image of a star. This one was a bit of a learning curve for some of the students, especially my grade 1s. I split the class up into centers based on their reading groups and because this was a split class it created a divide between the grade 1s and grade 2s. In the future I would definitely consider mixing the groups up so some of the grade 2 students, who have more experience with topics such as skip counting, can assist or act as role models for those who found this activity slightly challenging. Despite some challenges and extra assistance that was needed this center was great as well - the students were so happy when they were able to form a star with their string! 


My third and final center consisted of sorting buttons into cups. This a super simple concept but was very effective, especially with the grade 1s. For this activity, students are provided with buttons and cups labeled with different multiples of 5 for students to sort the button into. The majority of students excelled at this center and it was amazing to see. 


Overall, this lesson taught me a lot about effective Math instruction and the importance of hands-on learning. It reinforced the value of manipulatives and making real world connections.  At times it was challenging to meet the needs of all students while they were completing different activities and the transitions between centers were not always smooth. As I progress in my teaching career I will continue to work on my ability to effectively differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all learners and continue to improve my classroom management capabilities. 

Skip Counting by 5's Using Math Manipulatives

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