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Fun and Easy Tool to Teach Number Sense for Kinesthetic Learners

Here is my absolute favorite session from NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).  The presenter was a lady from Canada who brought The Learning Carpet for us to see.  The learning carpet is a 10 by 10 grid of empty squares that you can use for many things, but it is especially useful for a large 100’s chart.

The  number cards are 6 1/2 inches square and made out of card stock.  Students in groups of five can see how fast they can place the number cards on the carpet.  This can be easily differentiated by giving the easier numbers to the struggling learners and the larger numbers to the students who need a challenge.

Students can also be asked to pick up the numbers whose digits makes sums of 10 or any number.  Students will start to see patterns such as how different sums follow diagonals.  I felt dumb when she showed us this because I had never noticed that the sums make diagonals.

In the above picture you can see the gray squares on the mat.  You could easily make this on a tarp with paint or tape to show the number boxes.  The gray boxes are 6 1/2 inches and the black stripes on the grid lines are 1/2 an inch.    If I made one of these carpets, I would make the squares actually bigger so that feet could more easily fit inside the boxes.  I ordered the book with all the games that you can play so I could make my own if I wanted.  Next year, there may be money in the budget to actually purchase some of the carpets.

The amazing thing about the fact that there are no numbers on the grid actually teaches more number sense.  Students are made to think about number relationships to find spaces on the grid.  If asked to find any number on the blank grid students have to understand the relationships between the numbers.  For example, if trying to find 57 on the grid, students will know that all the sevens are in a column so that 57 will be in the column with sevens.  A marker can be thrown on the grid and then students have to tell what number space that it landed on.  They can walk on the carpet to help them figure it out.

The grid can be used for bar graphs or coordinate grids.   The grid can also be used for area and perimeter like below.

There are so many fun activities you can do with this carpet, and I love the idea of the students actually being able to get up and stand on it to be involved.  If you want to order the resources you can buy learning carpets and resources here.   The kindergarten teacher who designed these is in Canada, and this is the only place you can buy them.  They don’t sell through a larger distributor like Amazon etc.  I have no stock in these, I just think that it is a great idea whether you order the ones she makes or make your own.

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