January 19, 2022 | Kristen Jordan
While you have seen a few photos of the children sorting and counting the baby cereal that we collected before Christmas, here are more details about all of the counting and math work that the children did to determine the total number of containers of baby food that the Rivers Class collected.
First, when children brought in baby cereal, they were invited to share what they did to earn it. There was a range of answers from “helping to clean up” to “making cookies” to “taking care of my baby brother”. These opportunities for conversation provide children with a way of thinking together about how, when they are a helper at home, they can in turn do something for someone else in need. They are helping in many ways. What an important message!
Next, we spent lots of time organizing and sorting the cereal. Sorting required children to think about different categories–shape, color, size, type of food, and they gained in understanding that there are different ways to sort things. Organizing information is very important in many different areas of learning, but especially in math.
We had to find out how much the children had brought so counting was also huge part of the process and several discoveries were made as children counted. At first, when there were just a few boxes, it was pretty easy to count, but as more cereal came in, the children learned that it can be hard to keep track when there are so many things!
And so, we talked about and practiced several strategies that can help to keep track as you count:
Children counted many different groups of sorted baby cereal, but they knew that we still had to figure out how many boxes we had all together. “We have sooooooo many!” So, one child suggested that we could look at the groups that we had sorted and combine those numbers.
I knew that some children had heard of counting by tens and we related this to our hands; we have 10 fingers and can count those. So we divided the cereal into groups of 10 and then, together, counted 3 groups of 10, plus 1-2-3-4-5 more! Our practice with sorting, grouping and counting really helped with this part of the process!
Together, we found that we have collected 35 boxes of cereal! The children are excited to hear that soon the all of the food that they helped collect will be given to the babies who need it! (Thank you all again!)