Jan 26, 2015

WonderWorks: Pete the Cat Math

Everyone's favorite cool cat teaches some excellent math lessons and has a fun DIY game tie-in.

Note: this idea was taken directly from the blog Buggy and Buddy. I loved the whole concept and wanted to try a little something different in WonderWorks (everyone playing the same game) and the simplicity plus the math AND literacy combo was irresistible. Go to the original blog to see much more well-styled photos and the original explanation for the game.

Today's Topic: Pete the Cat Math
Shirts cut out of felt (or just printed onto colored paper. Printable template available here)
blank wooden cubes (one for each game set you're creating)

  cover art Pete the cat and his four groovy buttons / Litwin, Eric

Prep work: Before class, I used the Sharpie to mark the wooden cubes with the numbers 1, 2, 3 and one pip (or dot), two pips, three pips. I wanted to expose kids to both ways of writing numbers. I also had a teen volunteer cut out 16 felt shirts for the kids to use.

What Kids Do:  carefully place 10 buttons on their shirt

or.... more than 10.

 creating patterns and designs with the buttons uses excellent STEAM skills!

Then they rolled the die (actually, this was a skill that a lot of the kids hadn't developed yet, so another sneaky little lesson to add to the list of great skills this class taught).
 And removed the number of buttons the die told them to remove.
Some clever mamas asked for paper (or brought their own homeschool notebooks) and showed what the ACTUAL MATH EQUATIONS looked like!  Wow!
 (and yes, this family is a wee bit more advanced with their math skills already... But I love how this button activity supported the learning they're already doing!)

Adult Challenge of the week:  "Ask your child to predict what they think will happen." Normally, this is a challenge that I issue with a science project where there would be some logic to why they would make one prediction over the others (for right or wrong reasons and with correct or incorrect results, but still usually with some sort of reasoning behind it). For this class, the challenge takes on a slightly different flavor as the kids attempt to "predict" something random--which number will the die show? Which color shirt will lose all their buttons first?

Variations to try: 
Instead of subtracting buttons, try adding buttons to the shirt with each roll of the die.

Related Apps: I haven't tried it myself yet, but if you've got a big fan of Pete the Cat living at your house, they'll probably enjoy the Pete the Cat: School Jam appHere's a video review of it.

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