When you encounter a new concept or skill for the first time, your mind may need several experiences with it to find meaning and understanding in it. Numbers are one of those concepts. Children need to experience them through various modalities (tactical, visual, and auditory) before they have number recognition. They also need to view them with concrete (hands-on), semi-concrete (displayed in pictures) and abstract displays (numbers).
A number concept bag like the one displayed above can be filled with objects that will help children explore numbers. This bag explores the number five in many, many ways.
Let me share with you the learning tools placed in the bag and how to use them.
Blocks can be used to explore the number five in various ways. A mighty tower of five can be built with the blocks. Children could create an imaginative way to display the blocks horizontally and then tracings can be done around the display of five. To bring in auditory learning the blocks can be dropped one at a time so children can hear what the number five sounds like.
Beyond finding the five dots on the die there are several other ways the die can be used to get to know the number five. Children can find combinations of dots on the die that equal five and record them on paper. Another activity could be to keep track of the number of times it takes to roll the number five. They number of rolls could be recorded on paper with tally marks.
Glue Outline of Five
A number five can be created using glue on an index card or piece of cardstock. Children can rub their fingers over the shape of the number. They could also place a paper on top of the glue outline. A crayon can be rubbed over the paper to create a rubbing of the number.
A number five can be created using glue and beans can be placed on the glue number. Children can rub their fingers over the number five times to help create a tactile memory of the number. The bean outline could also be used to create a rubbing if the rubbing was done carefully.
Stickers on a Card
A card can be created displaying five stickers. The children can create the cards on their own or the card can be created ahead of time. Counting the stickers on the card gives children the opportunity to work with a number in a semi-concrete manner. There are still objects to count, but they are not movable once they are on the card.
Beads on a Pipe Cleaner
Placing five beads on a pipe cleaner could be done by the children or done ahead of time. The idea is that the pipe cleaner is bent to create a bracelet that students can wear once the beads are on it. They can move the beads forward on the bracelet when they count up to five. Moving the beads backward and counting backward from five to one would also be a great way to visualize five in a very concrete way.
Pentagon Puzzle Piece
If you have a shape puzzle, the pentagon puzzle piece from it makes the great tool for learning the number five. Children can see and feel the five sides and five angles that make up a pentagon. They can also trace an outline of that puzzle piece onto paper. The tracing of the pentagon can then be labeled with the numbers 1 to 5.
Five can be explored and understood when this Do You Know the Number 5 bag is shared during circle time or at your the kitchen table. It contents could be further explored in a center or work table. Leaving the materials out to be explored would be a wonderful invitation to learn more about the number 5 and work on number recognition.