Thursday, 8 August 2013

Counting and Catching with Captain Ball

Coaching a sport has forced me to learn a lot in one of my weaker areas. Our maths faculty is actually quite sporty, but I fit a more standard stereotype!

So learning to coach has been interesting. Just like all areas of my teaching, I like to make it all about games. I've learned to adapt a lot of games to the skills I need my kids to practise.

Recently I tried bringing one of my sports activities into my Numeracy Roll Call.
 The game is Captain ball and if you don't know it, it goes like this:
  • Two or more teams line up. The first player from each team stands facing the rest of the line with a bit of a gap
  • The leading player has a ball (or bean bag, or whatever you have that you can throw and catch)
  • They throw to the first person in the line, who catches and throws it back then sits down
  • The leading player throws to the next and so on until the last player in the line catches the ball
  • The last player runs up to the leading position, the previous leader joins the line at the front and all players stand back up
  • When all players have completed their time as the leader, the whole team sits down to show they are finished
  • First team to finish wins
The Numeracy variation is pretty simple, you just call out numbers in a sequence as you catch. For example, counting by twos, fives or tens would be a good place to start.

Good for a learning activity with kids who are restless and need to move around. I think we all have plenty of those!

What other numeracy or mathematics skills could we adapt captain ball to?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"Make n" Grids - a numeracy game

Another numeracy game for my roll call group. Right now we are targeting the skill of knowing number combinations for numbers up to 20.

We played a game called "Make 10" from the NSW DET's "Developing Efficient Numeracy Strategies" (DENS) stage 2 booklet.

The grids for that game have numbers from 1-10, and you roll a 0-9 die. Players take turns to roll the die and colour in a square on the grid. Players use different coloured pens and the first to get 4-in-a-row wins. When they roll, rather than colouring the number they rolled, they colour the number needed to make ten from their number. For example, if you roll a 6, you colour in a 4, because 6 + 4 = 10.

These grids extend the game to make use of 8, 12, and 20-sided dice, and 10-sided dice with tens, hundreds, and thousands on their faces.

We played some of these variations today, and they went well. The students can play quite independently, and it's easy to vary the difficulty between different groups by which grid and die you give them.