Have you ever asked your students to tell you "how many" of something you might need? What kind of answers to you get? 100! 1,000! 1,000,000! This activity introduces children to the idea of "resonable numbers." Reasonable numbers are defined by Chris Confer as "quantities of things that come in particular ranges." A person might have one or two dogs, but not 20 or 30. Confer shares in her book, Teaching Number Sense, that the concept of reasonable numbers (and the understanding of them) are based on the real life experiences of the child.
This is as fun little lesson that introduces the idea of reasonable numbers. It also comes from Chris Confers Book: Teaching Number Sense.
You will need this book:
This is a silly non-fiction book, but it provides lots of experiences for counting - something that those little babies need a lot of in the beginning of the year! As you read, encourage the children to count the number of elephants on each page. Guide them to notice the number pattern in the book as well - the numbers decrease as the pages increase.
When you are finished reading the story, allow the children some time to brainstorm the "right number" of various things. (This time though, it will be real, true things!) Children may vary in their answers as in, "The right number of earrings on an ear is...." Some things will have definite concrete answers, while statements like the one above will vary based on what the children have experienced. You want to guide children to understand reasonable numbers - it wouldn't be reasonable for a person to have 30 earrings on an ear, but it might be reasonable to have 4.
In her book, Confer provides a writing frame and the children fill in the sentence that they have brainstormed together. I have made up a little book for you with the complete sentence frame. I think this would be much easier for the kiddos at the beginning of the year to complete! The children can complete the pages with pencils and crayons or make construction paper pictures (these are always so cute!)
You can grab the book here:
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