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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Spring always makes for a great theme in your classroom. There’s so many ways for students to engage with it, whether it’s the idea of flowers blooming, babies being born or just the weather warming up. It makes sense to make your academic centers match your spring theme, from scientific observation of the frog life cycle to short reading texts about baby animals using their sight words. This frog number hop activity is the perfect math partner game for spring as it incorporates discussions about the life cycle and habitats of a frog along with the tricky counting concepts of more and less. Once your students learn how to play this frog math activity for kindergarten, they’ll be hopping back for more every day!
More Than, Less Than
By the time that springs rolls around for your kindergarteners, you’ll have covered a lot of the basics of early mathematics in terms of one to one correspondence (the ability to accurately count a group of unique objects) and a sense of the magnitude of the number scale (as numbers get larger, they represent greater amounts). This all sets the stage of early addition and subtraction, which in kindergarten is referenced by the language of more than and less than. You start with simple comparative sentences with models (i.e is 10 more than and or less than 6?), but then you’ll be able to quantify these questions (i.e. what number is 2 more than 7?). This requires students to have solid mental models, and this spinner math center turns practicing this skill into a fun partner game. To make pairing up your students a breeze, try using my Food Friends Pick A Partner Cards!
Preparing Your Spinner Math Center
Extending The Frog Number Hop Game
Your students will quickly master this frog math activity for kindergarten (once they’ve worked out how to make the spinner work with a pencil and a paper clip!). To make it more challenging, try some of these frog number hop extension tasks:
Increase the spinner number – the first task to make the game complex is to create a six (or even eight) section spinner where you can do +3 and +4 steps. This will help your students further develop their mental math skills as they play.
Write equations – if you choose to play this math partner game for spring as an independent center, you can have students note down the equations that they used to play the game. For example, if they were on 17 and spun a +2, they would write down 17 + 2 = 19 as proof that they moved to the correct space.
Create their own map – this frog number hop game should last 10 minutes or less which works perfectly for a short math center. However, you can give your students free reign to create their own spring themed maps, which they will often make longer and with more “special” squares. While you’ll need to make more time for students to play these games, their engagement will be much higher as they have the added ownership of playing and testing each other’s games.