Thursday, November 8, 2012

J's Finger Counting Lesson

I loved math long before I fell in love with science. However, I have no memories of learning math as a young child. I think the earliest memory was one of my elementary school friends showing me the 9 multiplication trick on the fingers (I was already really good at memorizing, but knowing the trick was useful when I started tutoring others). I think math is a lot of memorization that starts with counting. I've been having a hard time thinking of math lessons for little kids other than some brainstorming I did on counting for preschoolers, so I'm 100% giving credit to J for this lesson that I couldn't help but share.

Last week, J started holding up varying amounts of fingers and stating, "This is (fill in the blank with the correct #)." Then he went on to hold up the same amount of different fingers and state, "This is also (fill in the blank with the same correct #)." Then he counted the fingers to make sure his statements were correct.

How many ways can you find to hold up (using both hands - Left Hand+Right Hand):
*3 fingers (3+0, 2+1, 0+3, 1+2)
*4 fingers (4+0, 3+1, 2+2, 1+3, 0+4)
*7 fingers (2+5, 3+4, 4+3, 5+2)
*etc, etc

Of course, count your fingers each time you switch your fingers to show that it still is __ amount of fingers though you are holding up different fingers on different hands.

Also, remember you can also use different fingers than the standard way people finger count. For example, you can hold up 8 fingers with 5 on one hand + thumb, pointer, middle - or - 5 on one hand + pointer, middle, ring fingers.  Either way, it's still 8 fingers up in the air.

With this lesson you're introducing the concept of adding and a little bit of the commutative property of addition, along with basic counting skills.  It's so interesting to see what comes out of a 3.5 year old's mind!

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