We've been thinking about large numbers in kindergarten the past few days. Hundreds, Thousands. Big numbers. Numbers that big can be pretty hard to visualize unless the teacher makes an effort to make the numbers real.
We're seeing big numbers. We're talking about big numbers. We're counting by 10's and 100's. We're feeling big numbers with our hands.
We're picking up the eucalyptus buttons that fall onto the handball court from the tree outside the kindergarten. The buttons are round enough and plentiful enough to cause a hazard to the players on the court. So we're picking them up, collecting them, and counting them. We just today counted our 1,000th button. I imagine that we'll count upwards of 4,000, maybe more, before we learn what we need to learn from this activity.
Our process is to pick them up and put them in a blue bucket. When it's time to count (some of) them, I hand each student a little plastic applesauce cup saved from snack. Each student picks 10 buttons from the bucket and puts them into his or her little plastic cup. We arrange the cups full of buttons in rows of 10 and count them by 10s to 100. The 100 buttons go into a plastic bag which, in turn, is pinned to the wall. See, here———
We count the bags pinned to the wall by 100s. This is what 1,000 Eucalyptus buttons collected in bags of 100 looks like pinned to the classroom wall——
To celebrate this milestone, tomorrow we'll eat approxiately 1,000 kernals of popcorn while watching approximately 1,000 seconds of a Tom and Jerry cartoons if our volunteer video supplier (or one of their back-ups) remembers to bring in a DVD. (This is quite a treat, as we haven't had a classroom party like this before.)
For advanced extra credit, help your kindergartner figure out how many minutes 1,000 seconds is.