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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Even if you don’t have any students with Chinese heritage, there are many reasons to have Chinese New Year Math Centers in your classroom. Firstly, it comes directly after the western New Year, so there is scope for some comparisons between the two celebrations. Secondly, it’s always a good time to learn about other cultures and appreciate that your students’ experience of the world isn’t the only viewpoint. Finally, picking different monthly themes allows you to revisit different skills without your students getting bored of the same activities. Having printable Chinese New Year activities will keep your students’ skills fresh all winter long.
Why Are Shapes Important To Learn?
This incredible packet of Lunar New Year classroom ideas has all sorts of Chinese New Year math centers from counting groups of objects to 20 and graphing them to number formation and shape recognition. While many teachers focus on number sense and recognition, shapes are an integral part of the early math curriculum and need to be taught frequently. They underpin all the geometry work still to come, and get your students thinking about grouping and describing objects by their properties. This sets the foundation for scientific thinking as well as lending itself to literacy work with verbal and written descriptions of objects for an audience.
How To Teach Chinese New Year Math Centers
You’ll find five separate printable Chinese New Year activities as part of this incredible value download. These activities are 2D shape mats, counting clip cards, ten frame mats, find, count and graph tasks, and number formation cards. While it’s tempting to print the whole packet and have students work through it independently, you’ll get more out of these Lunar New Year classroom ideas if you follow this teaching sequence:
Whole class teaching – each of these Chinese New Year math centers requires some explanation and discussion before students can attempt it. For example, the pages that work on counting groups of objects to 20 need an understanding of one to one correspondence, as well as how to use clip cards to check their own answers.
Small group teaching – once your students understand how to use each of the five activities, you should group your students by their math ability on each task. Be mindful that students will not be at the same level for all five tasks; it’s often the case that students who are strong with number sense struggle with geometry.
Focus on one skill – while there are five printable Chinese New Year activities, avoid the temptation to put one activity out every day. In early math, rehearsal and practice are the keys to mastery, and students will be able to work independently with success when they fully know the task and know that they have the skills and knowledge to complete the activity.