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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Animals hold a special place in the heart of your kindergarten students. Whether it’s fluffy felines or enormous elephants, kindergarteners love to talk about animals. This is why any time of year is perfect for a pets classroom theme. Even for those students who don’t have a furry friend or two at home, you’ll boost your engagement with conversations about animals and pets (both real and imaginary!), and it’s a great way to get your students talking to each other and building your classroom community. This dog bone math game is a great tie in to either a pets classroom theme or a nursery rhyme theme as you can talk about the song “Knick Knack Paddy Whack” as you play the game.
Teaching Addition and Subtraction Skills
As your kindergarten year draws to a close, mastering single digit addition and subtraction will be your major goal. At this stage of the year, your students should have the concepts of one to one correspondence and the magnitude of the whole number system nailed down, which are the foundational tools for teaching addition and subtraction. Initially, you’ll want to start with manipulatives (you can definitely find mini erasers in the shape of dog bones!) so that students see the two separate piles being physically added together to make a bigger pile and vice versa for subtraction. This dog bone counting is a great step to making this more abstract and transitioning them to traditional number sentences.
Preparing Dog Bone Math Game
Pushing Their Learning Further With Dog Bone Counting
This dog bone math game is a fun movement game for your whole class. Simply print out the cute dog pictures and cut them (preferably laminating them in the process for longevity. Give each student a copy of the answer sheet and have them race around the room, finding and solving all the answers. There’s even an answer sheet so that students can check their own work as they go. To push their learning further as part of your pets classroom theme or a nursery rhyme theme, try some of these activities:
Find the matches – you can introduce the idea of equivalent equations to your students with this fun dog bone counting. Instead of making into a classroom scoot, give a table of students a copy of all 24 dogs, and have them sort by cards that have the same answer.
Write the number sentences – instead of roaming the room and coming back with a random series of numbers, you can teach your students about the importance of showing your work by having them create mathematical number sentences that represent each card they visited. They can compare these with a partner or with the answer card to check their work.
Create the inverse – your students need to begin to understand that addition and subtraction operate as the inverse of each other. You can prove this to them by having them write the subtraction equation that reverses each addition equation, and vice versa. They’ll grasp this concept quickly and be delighted that they can make a new series of math facts to add to this dog bone math game.