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Monday, September 2, 2013

Exploring Dice-Dot Patterns

The ability to quickly recognize the patterns on a die without counting each dot is important for young children.
 So today I played a game with a First Grader in which we each had 20 counters and 1 die.

The players take turns rolling the die and picking up as many counters as indicated on the die until all of the counters have been picked up. To pick up the last counter, the number on the die must match the number of counters remaining.  The first player that picks up (or slides the counters to the side of their pile) all their 20 counters is the winner.

While playing this game it is easy for the teacher to evaluate:
1) Can the child recognize the pattern on the die at a glance, or is it necessary for the child to count each dot before knowing the amount indicated on the die?
2) When counting their counters do they have one-to-one correspondence, and do they count using the correct sequence?

When we played the game the second time, I counted out my counters by two's instead of by ones. The First Grader followed my lead by counting her counters by two's also. So I learned something new about her again... that not only could she count by two's but she had the ability to utilize that pattern when picking up (or sliding over) her counters. To count out the number of 5, she slid the counters in this way:  2,2,1.


I told the student that I wanted to know what she already knew about the patterns on dice.  I gave her 6 post-it notes and asked her to draw the pattern for each number on the post-it notes.  This is what she drew:
When I looked at  the post-it notes I could tell that the student had internalized the 6 patterns on the die, and could  tell you immediately without counting the value of each pattern.
If I was saving evidence of learning, I could save the six post-it notes, or a photo of her work.

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