Monday, October 7, 2013

10 Days of Halloween Centers, Day 2: Missing Bats - Whole Part Part Charts with Missing Addends

     One of the most difficult mathematical concepts for first graders in the beginning of the year is that of "missing addends".  If you're not a teacher, you might ask "what is a missing addend"?  In Addition, sometimes the sum is known and only one part is known and the other part, or addend, is unknown.  For example, the problem might be, "There are 9 children (the sum). 6 are boys (the known addend or part). How many are girls (the unknown)?  This is difficult for little children to understand. 
     Teaching the concept is fun.  It involves the element of surprise - the unknown part, the mystery. 
     If taught with a lot of props and storytelling, student will get it easily.  I love to hide the "missing part" in bags, in boxes, under bowls, gift boxes, in name it.  I've even put plastic worms in my shoe.  "I have 6 worms.  3 are in my hand. How many are in my shoe?" 
     I took this concept and made a center out of it for Halloween.  It's called Missing Bats.  It's part of a collection of math centers for Halloween that I created for my first grade students.

     The center has 12 mats that have a whole part part chart with pictures of bats flying outside (the known addend), the sum (the whole number of bats in all) on the bottom, and a haunted house on the left side (the number of bats inside, which is the unknown addend).  It also comes with different colored bat counters, so students can figure out how many bats are in the house by placing the bats on the house

        Those adorable little bats, by the way, are from My Cute Graphics, a great website for graphics.
      Before I put an activity like this in a center, I use it as a teaching tool.  When I demonstrated this, it was fun having the students make up stories about why the bats were in the house.  Their ideas included things like,  "The bats can't get out.  The bats outside will help them.  The bats inside are lost.", etc. 
     When questioning, ask students: "How many bats are there in all?"  "How many are outside?"  "How many are inside the haunted house?"  "How can we find out?"  Let them tell you how.
I included some mats that have zero as the known part and zero as the unknown part.  Let students tell you how they come up with the other addend.
     This activity also comes with a recording sheet.  I love to use graphics to help little ones, so I added a little haunted house in the whole part part chart. 
     It comes also with an answer key, so students working independently can check their answers.
     So next time you need to teach missing addends, go out to the dollar store and get some fun props and some interesting containers to hide the missing parts.  Most importantly, have some fun!!!
     Thanks for visiting.  I hope you come back in a few days to see center number three. 

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