Creating math stories 💬🧮

Mathlink cubes have been transported into another room and our tots started crafting compelling stories using the cubes as substitutes for characters.

We’ve used this chance to initiate through play, learning of math concepts: numbers, bigger, smaller, equal, same, equivalence, transformation, addition, subtraction with the aim of enhancing problem solving skills, confidence in using own ideas, checking through counting, ask the right questions, taking turns whilst having fun, etc.

“Young children have a remarkable skill: they can recognise numbers of things without counting.  This is called subitising, and it develops from a very early age. Subitising can help children to build images for numbers, to visualise and to learn number facts. For instance, most four-year-olds readily learn to recognise five dots on a dice, which helps them to understand the cardinal value or ‘howmanyness’ of five, which they can link to the word and symbol for 5. Fingers also provide subitisable images for numbers, with the added advantage that they are embodied in muscle memory. ” NRICH- Oct 2018

We’ve taken turns rolling the dice, counting the spots, matching the graphic correspondent/ number, building rods, comparing, adding them up, taking away, using the cubes/ rods as open ended resources. We had a lot of fun making up stories in order to understand abstract concepts and their practical use without losing the core concept.

For example: 5 ducks were swimming in a pond, having fun, splashing away. There came 3 swans and asked if they could join them to which the ducks happily agreed. They were having even more fun now as they were 5+3= 8 birds in total.

The game continued for a good while as there was no pressure to give right answers but to be creative and to have fun. As these were the main rules we had yellow ducks that ate oranges 😊!! We pulled up surprise faces, then we accepted that this might happen and we should not be judgemental about other’s preferences even when they seem odd or are not same as ours.

We used a count and match worksheet to consolidate the connection between the dots on a dice and numbers.

As the cubes were being tidied up the rods have been used imaginatively as ice lollies bought from the corner shop.


Next steps: all the resources used in this activity to be made available so children could use them in free play however they may prefer. We can also use dices in future games as a way to establish who has priority for a turn: who has the biggest/ smallest number, etc.

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