Focus on Math

Helping children become mathematicians!

Math Toolkits for Students: The Basics (part 2) May 17, 2011

In the first toolkit post I set the background for toolkits, so now let’s look the the really important part — what goes into the tookits. I will first list items that I have used and recommended for all students in grades 1 to 7. (Please note that the toolkit idea may even be useful in grades 8 and 9, but I have not personally used them in those grades or carefully looked at the curriculum to see which tools might be useful in a toolkit.)

Toolkit Contents for grades 1-7:

  • A response board and appropriate tool for writing
  • A large, laminated 100 chart and/or 0-99 chart
  • A large, laminated 100-dot array (see illustration — I LOVE this tool!!!!)
  • A mini-deck of cards (playing cards ace to 10, one of each)
  • A set on numerals 0-9 (two of each is best) along with symbols for “greater than”, “less than”, and “equals” — also a decimal point for older students
  • Bingo chips or punched-paper circles (in a snack-sized zip baggie)
  • A piece of string (random length for each child), wrapped around a piece of box-board to keep it “tidy”
  • A ruler marked in cm (also mm for older students)
  • Pattern blocks (either real, or die cut out of construction paper, in a snack-sized zip baggie)
  • Blank spinners, with pre-marked sections — paper part only
  • Paper clips to use as the spinning part of “fast spinners”
  • small mirror(s) — hinged ones are fabulous!!

In reality, it is hard for me to put this list out there without stopping at every item and going through a set of activities that uses the particular tool — thus I do a workshop about creating and using toolkits! But for now I will just post the list and elaborate if someone has a question about a particular item.

Mathematically yours,


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