Friday, July 8, 2016

DIY Giant Number Bracelet

I'm not a worksheet person. When it comes to teaching math, hands-on manipulatives are a must have for me. Especially with my little guys, do they truly understand a concept without learning through manipulatives? 
Before we use any manipulatives for the first time {or complete any activity for that matter}, I always model for my students, and do some guided practice as well. Whether I'm teaching in my small groups during guided math, or I happen to be doing something whole group, those are two things that I always do. Unfortunately, it's really tough to model or do guided practice so all of the kids can see with small manipulatives. Sure, you can use an overhead projector to show students how to use the materials, but it's often hard to see, and it's much different than using the actual thing.
One of my favorite manipulatives to use when decomposing numbers and teaching addition are number bracelets. I was introduced to these from Tara West of Little Minds At Work. When I would show my kids how to use the number bracelet to explore combinations that make a specific number, it was really tough for them to stay engaged because they were looking at such a tiny object. They always wound up "getting it," and the activity always went fine, but something was definitely missing.
This summer, my mentor from my old school was SO excited to share an idea with me, and let me tell you, it blew my mind! She shared that she was going to make a giant number bracelet to use to introduce number bracelets to her kids. Right away, I knew it was a brilliant idea and I HAD to see it! And now that I've seen it.. I knew it was too good to not share with you too :)!
Here's what you'll need:
-a hula hoop
-a pool noodle
-a serrated knife
-a tape measure
-a giant binder clip
-a marker
First, measure the pool noodle lengthwise. Make a mark every 2 inches. {Measure as many segments as you would like depending on the number you want your number bracelet to go up to. For 10 segments, I used about half of the pool noodle.}
Once all of your marks have been made, cut on each mark with a serrated knife. 
After you have cut all of your segments, cut a slit lengthwise on each segment so that you can open it.
It should look like this.
Then, open up each segment, and place it on the hula hoop. Don't stretch it too much; it should completely close around the hoop. {Again, put as many segments as you want on your hula hoop. I put 10, because I want my students to decompose numbers to 10.}
When you have all of your segments on the hula hoop, print, laminate, and cut the number cards. Hang them from the hula hoop with a giant binder clip. {I got mine at Staples.}
Now, your giant number bracelet is ready for students to use! Looking at it here, it's showing that 5 and 5 make 10.
Students can slide the segments over the top of the hula hoop to change their addends. This one shows 3 and 7 make 10.
Once they're ready to work on a different number, just change the number card, and take off as many segments as you need so that your number bracelet represents the new number! And that's it. Easy as pie! 
Want to see the number bracelet in action? Tune in today at 1:00 EST on Facebook for a Facebook Live Giant Number Bracelet demonstration! If you can't make it, no worries! You can catch the replay!
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