# Math Lab (?) How do you do this?

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I've been reading this thread, and came across the concept of "math lab." If you do this, how do you structure it? What materials do you use? Do you have a "lesson" in mind, or do your students explore freely?

:bigear:

We weren't sure we wanted to go with Horizons for next year (1st grade), but then someone gave us the first grade set (new) for FREE. :D So, LOL, we will be using Horizons! I'm not that thrilled with the perpetual spiral, but... we have it, so... Horizons it will be.

I've been thinking about adding something more mastery-based to balance it out. We'd like some meatier LESSONS -- something that really focuses on a concept, stays parked on it long enough for those AHA moments to happen. We've looked at Math Mammoth (which I like) and MEP (which I also like)... but how many worksheets can you ask one little kid to do?

To the Horizons + "Mastery Program" we would also add drill, songs, and games. But perhaps the best supplement/complement for Horizons + drill would be Math Lab (no worksheets, except for recording observations).

We do have plenty of manipulatives, including C-rods, base-ten blocks, tiles, counters, 2-color counters, geoboards, snap cubes, attribute blocks, color cubes, geometric solids, balance scale, bucket scale, thermometer, Judy clocks, calendar, REAL money in a pouch :001_smile:, and more. I have this, but haven't found it too helpful, except to just get started with some concepts. We regularly do the activities, and some are great, but mostly we just feel lost with this. :confused: Can you tell I'm not intuitively mathy?

I think my daughter is, though. Just the other day we were on our way to church. I gave her the offering for herself and her sisters. She said, "Let's see... I have three quarters and three nickels. That's one quarter and one nickel each, so 30 cents each. Times three, that's 90 cents, so it's less than a dollar.... 10 cents less. I would need one dime, or two nickels, or one nickel and five pennies, or ten pennies to reach one dollar." My husband was stunned, I just thought this was normal for a kindergartner... ?

We would love some hands-on ideas for "Math Lab" once or twice a week. :bigear:

Edited by Sahamamama

:bigear:

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We didn't do any formal math for k- about 3rd.

We had one of those toy sorter shelves (I think this is the one we have http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/187-9374708-7133849?asin=B000LRBNK8&AFID=Froogle_df&LNM=|B000LRBNK8&CPNG=home%20decor&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B000LRBNK8&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001HYPERLINK and I would put all of our math manipulatives and thier assorted books, or work mats, or maybe things I had made in each bin.

Then when it was math time they could pick a bin and play with what was in there. Sure some days they just played, other days they would follow the activity in the books, and other days they would really surprise me with both thier creativity and also the real understanding of math they were picking up.

It's been a while since first grade but let me see if I can remember some of the bins-

-lots of coins and often a grocery store ad or oriental trading co. catalouge (it worked nice because the prices are cheap), old blank checks or budget sheets

-dried beans to count along with index cards (some blank, some with numerals, some with stickers for matching the same number) maybe an egg carton or some small paper cups (and we made some of them 2 color counters by coloring one half)

-Miquon sheets and rods (and other rod books)

-fraction circles

-dominos and some work cards

-base 10 set and a book

-balance

-geometric solids

-geoboard and books

-figure drawing/measuring things-rulers, protractors, compasses, string, tape measures

-dice

-flash cards and card games

-tanagrams and attribute blocks and books

-TOPS Get a Grip

-hundred charts

-clocks and calendars and date books and schedules (t.v. or community college or whatever)

-logic games or books- Pirates Undercover, memory, Mummy Maze Ways, Logic Links, Building Thinking Skills, ect.

For the most part they just played. I might ask if they want to try something and I would rotate things in or out, but mostly they were under control of what and how they did it. Which did mean somedays all they did was make houses from the rods or made wish lists from the catlouges or grocery ads, but even those were getting numbers and their relationships into thier minds.

As they got to the end of 2nd and in 3rd I did make sure they were getting through Miquon. Sometimes that meant asking them to do a page or two before they picked something fun, sometimes that meant doing math twice a day (once for Miquon, once for the lab), sometimes that meant Miquon on some days and lab on the others.

They also would play with the lab things in free time so I didn't want to make that more like school, I wanted it to stay fun. I did lead activities sometimes, especially for the things they didn't use much on thier own.

We floundered around last year trying to decide what to do with my oldest, he did work through some of our manipulative books in a more orderly way, he did some of Lial's Basic College Math, Hands on Equations, we did some drill work (and timed tests), and did SM 3A and 3B.

This year they are doing SM 3 and 4 and going through them so quickly. We are on week 6 and I think both are going to finish the A books this week. I started them both at SM 3 because I kept hearing it was important, but I don't know that they need it math skills wise, but one thing they do need to work on is writing numbers neatly (so maybe a handwriting box needs added to my math lab). For the B levels, we are going to do only Intensive Practice. Even if they slow down some I think they'll get through both of the next levels this year too so then they'll be right on grade level.

That's how we did it, hope that helps!

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We didn't do any formal math for k- about 3rd.

We had one of those toy sorter shelves (I think this is the one we have http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/187-9374708-7133849?asin=B000LRBNK8&AFID=Froogle_df&LNM=|B000LRBNK8&CPNG=home%20decor&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B000LRBNK8&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001HYPERLINK and I would put all of our math manipulatives and thier assorted books, or work mats, or maybe things I had made in each bin.

Then when it was math time they could pick a bin and play with what was in there. Sure some days they just played, other days they would follow the activity in the books, and other days they would really surprise me with both thier creativity and also the real understanding of math they were picking up.

It's been a while since first grade but let me see if I can remember some of the bins-

-lots of coins and often a grocery store ad or oriental trading co. catalouge (it worked nice because the prices are cheap), old blank checks or budget sheets

-dried beans to count along with index cards (some blank, some with numerals, some with stickers for matching the same number) maybe an egg carton or some small paper cups (and we made some of them 2 color counters by coloring one half)

-Miquon sheets and rods (and other rod books)

-fraction circles

-dominos and some work cards

-base 10 set and a book

-balance

-geometric solids

-geoboard and books

-figure drawing/measuring things-rulers, protractors, compasses, string, tape measures

-dice

-flash cards and card games

-tanagrams and attribute blocks and books

-TOPS Get a Grip

-hundred charts

-clocks and calendars and date books and schedules (t.v. or community college or whatever)

-logic games or books- Pirates Undercover, memory, Mummy Maze Ways, Logic Links, Building Thinking Skills, ect.

For the most part they just played. I might ask if they want to try something and I would rotate things in or out, but mostly they were under control of what and how they did it. Which did mean somedays all they did was make houses from the rods or made wish lists from the catlouges or grocery ads, but even those were getting numbers and their relationships into thier minds.

As they got to the end of 2nd and in 3rd I did make sure they were getting through Miquon. Sometimes that meant asking them to do a page or two before they picked something fun, sometimes that meant doing math twice a day (once for Miquon, once for the lab), sometimes that meant Miquon on some days and lab on the others.

They also would play with the lab things in free time so I didn't want to make that more like school, I wanted it to stay fun. I did lead activities sometimes, especially for the things they didn't use much on thier own.

We floundered around last year trying to decide what to do with my oldest, he did work through some of our manipulative books in a more orderly way, he did some of Lial's Basic College Math, Hands on Equations, we did some drill work (and timed tests), and did SM 3A and 3B.

This year they are doing SM 3 and 4 and going through them so quickly. We are on week 6 and I think both are going to finish the A books this week. I started them both at SM 3 because I kept hearing it was important, but I don't know that they need it math skills wise, but one thing they do need to work on is writing numbers neatly (so maybe a handwriting box needs added to my math lab). For the B levels, we are going to do only Intensive Practice. Even if they slow down some I think they'll get through both of the next levels this year too so then they'll be right on grade level.

That's how we did it, hope that helps!

I LOVE these ideas for the bins, especially the price sheets & OT catalogs. My girls would all enjoy playing "store," :D and I'll get to call it Math Lab. :lol: With real pennies, nickels & dimes? ;)

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We didn't do any formal math for k- about 3rd.

We had one of those toy sorter shelves (I think this is the one we have http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/187-9374708-7133849?asin=B000LRBNK8&AFID=Froogle_df&LNM=|B000LRBNK8&CPNG=home%20decor&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=B000LRBNK8&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001HYPERLINK and I would put all of our math manipulatives and thier assorted books, or work mats, or maybe things I had made in each bin.

Then when it was math time they could pick a bin and play with what was in there. Sure some days they just played, other days they would follow the activity in the books, and other days they would really surprise me with both thier creativity and also the real understanding of math they were picking up.

It's been a while since first grade but let me see if I can remember some of the bins-

-lots of coins and often a grocery store ad or oriental trading co. catalouge (it worked nice because the prices are cheap), old blank checks or budget sheets

-dried beans to count along with index cards (some blank, some with numerals, some with stickers for matching the same number) maybe an egg carton or some small paper cups (and we made some of them 2 color counters by coloring one half)

-Miquon sheets and rods (and other rod books)

-fraction circles

-dominos and some work cards

-base 10 set and a book

-balance

-geometric solids

-geoboard and books

-figure drawing/measuring things-rulers, protractors, compasses, string, tape measures

-dice

-flash cards and card games

-tanagrams and attribute blocks and books

-TOPS Get a Grip

-hundred charts

-clocks and calendars and date books and schedules (t.v. or community college or whatever)

-logic games or books- Pirates Undercover, memory, Mummy Maze Ways, Logic Links, Building Thinking Skills, ect.

For the most part they just played. I might ask if they want to try something and I would rotate things in or out, but mostly they were under control of what and how they did it. Which did mean somedays all they did was make houses from the rods or made wish lists from the catlouges or grocery ads, but even those were getting numbers and their relationships into thier minds.

As they got to the end of 2nd and in 3rd I did make sure they were getting through Miquon. Sometimes that meant asking them to do a page or two before they picked something fun, sometimes that meant doing math twice a day (once for Miquon, once for the lab), sometimes that meant Miquon on some days and lab on the others.

They also would play with the lab things in free time so I didn't want to make that more like school, I wanted it to stay fun. I did lead activities sometimes, especially for the things they didn't use much on thier own.

We floundered around last year trying to decide what to do with my oldest, he did work through some of our manipulative books in a more orderly way, he did some of Lial's Basic College Math, Hands on Equations, we did some drill work (and timed tests), and did SM 3A and 3B.

This year they are doing SM 3 and 4 and going through them so quickly. We are on week 6 and I think both are going to finish the A books this week. I started them both at SM 3 because I kept hearing it was important, but I don't know that they need it math skills wise, but one thing they do need to work on is writing numbers neatly (so maybe a handwriting box needs added to my math lab). For the B levels, we are going to do only Intensive Practice. Even if they slow down some I think they'll get through both of the next levels this year too so then they'll be right on grade level.

That's how we did it, hope that helps!

Great post! Thanks!

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Are there any other great Math Lab (open-ended math) ideas? What I'm aiming at is one "session" per week, in which we do mathy-things, without the math being paper & pencil/worksheets. :bigear:

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We do 'math lab' here. I have Muggins Math 'Number Neighbors' and 'Pre-Algebra' (Pre-algebra is for dd11). I also have Singapore Brain Maths and Math Sprints. I also have another book called 'It Figures' (I think) that I use that is fascinating......and I use both volumes of Mathematicians are People Too so we understand the origins of what we are doing when we use It Figures.

Perhaps one day a week or at the end of a math lesson, we will do Lab.

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It sounds like you have manipulatives. Just sit on the floor with the kids and play with them.

My husband and ds used to make up their own games with dominoes- usually they included smacking the domino loudly onto the kitchen table.

Ds and I would sit in bed and toss dice. Start with one die to name the number as fast as they can. Then two, three, four dice to name the total as fast as they can.

We enjoy real cards, but card games on the computer were great for entertaining my little man.

(sequencing, grouping, logic)

Cuisenaire rods were always fun. I like the original unmarked blocks, because you can focus on concepts without the distraction of units.

Line up 5 <fill in whatever color> rods and 5 <another color> rods. Which one is longer? Shorter? How many more of this one would I need for it to be longer?

Make pattern trains. My train goes- green, red, red, purple, green, red, red, <what comes next> Have them build pattern trains and then switch and complete each others trains.

(greater, less than, patterns)

I really like my fraction wheels/pieces. For me it is the easiest way to introduce the four operations with fractions. You need no paper, no pencil. What is 1/4 and 1/4? If I eat 2/3 of the pie how much is left? How many 1/4's are in 1/2, in 1 whole, in 2 3/4? If 4 people each have 1/3 of a pizza how much do they have altogether? Wing it. Make up questions as fast as they can answer them.

(fractions)

The MUS blocks are nice for multiplication, because you don't need to sort groups prior to starting. If I have 2 groups of 3, how many do I have? so forth and so on Toss out different groups as fast as they can give the answer.

(multiplication)

Ds liked using really money, but I don't remember doing anything other than dumping our coffee container full of change on the kitchen table. He always found his own ways to sort and count it. This is also true of my grandmother's button basket and the Lauri Fit-a-Space pieces.

HTH-

Mandy

adding this: Wedgits, duplos, and magnetic foam pattern blocks were a big hits that I just dumped out.

Edited by Mandy in TN
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Setting up a day of "Math Lab" is an awesome idea as far as I'm concerned. The most fruitful part of our math program has bee the times spent away from workbooks, and learning the same sort of objectives though doing something tangible.

The Miquon Math teachers materials are foundational works for parents who want to implement a Math Lab at home. Their value to me can not be overestimated.

And the biggest influence of the Miquon books was not for any one specific idea, but rather for making me focus on what I was hoping my child might learn, what he might need to understand as precursors to learning the concept at hand, and how that learning could be made tangible. As well as thinking about how and when his learning though guided discovery was the best option and when demonstrations (that might also be tangible) are best.

The MEP "Lesson Plan" component has marvelous ideas that can be used in your Math Lab.

I do think the Math Lab model works best with a whole-parts type math program (such as Singapore, MEP, Math Mammoth, Right Start, and/or Miquon) as a spine.

Bill

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:lurk5:

This idea might be what I'm looking for! (See my thread about ds7 finding math dull).

Hope people chime in here with more ideas-and I'd love some for 2nd-3rd grade math concepts too!

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I think a math lab is a fabulous idea! Next year as we do 2 20-minute sessions of math, we could have Math Mammoth and a math lab with concrete materials and Miquon.

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Are there any other great Math Lab (open-ended math) ideas? What I'm aiming at is one "session" per week, in which we do mathy-things, without the math being paper & pencil/worksheets.

The measuring things work really well for this, because, lets face it, no matter how many worksheets you do on ft to in or cm to m, it is so much clearer when you have your tape measure and and measuring things. Graph paper, or home decorating magazines go well with this, using the string as a free form measurer is fun too, how many of my feet go across the table, or how many times around my wrist tall is the couch.

Using just pennies, dimes, and dollars is an easy way for most kids to get base 10.

Another big hit here was the TOPS Get a Grip kit, but you could start out with just a bin of lentils (or even water at the sink) and measuring cups and spoons (and eventually geometric solids).

I think the real key here is to start paying attention to when you use math everyday then figure out a way to make it appropriate and hands on (that's why the ads and checkbooks and measuring cups).

I've also realized that estimating is the math I use all day, and while there isn't a very easy way to make that into a bin, I did/do try to talk about it. Starting with questions like "How many leaves are on that tree? 10's? 100's? 1000's? How about that bush? How about that flower?" Or pointing out that even though the price says \$4.85, that's really more like \$5 than \$4.

Hope people chime in here with more ideas-and I'd love some for 2nd-3rd grade math concepts too!

For the most part, those bins worked until we were in 3rd grade.

For the money bin they could divide the prices in the Oriental Trading Company to figure out how much one thing cost, for the dominos they could actually try to figure out the problems on the cards, for the drawing/measuring bin they could draw scale models of thier rooms or measure angles and so on. I also think many activites can be found online, just type in domino math activities or two color math chip activies and see what comes up.

I do love Miquon and the TOPS kit is another big hit. We also like geoboards and some kind of counter is useful for a long time (we just used dried beans mostly). I mentioned in the other thread that Delta has some Math in a Nutshell kits that look fun too. http://www.delta-education.com/miansplash.aspx?subID=44&menuID=70

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One thing we do on the way home from the grocery store (when dh and I go) is I'll pull out something from the bags and ask them how much it cost (think price is right). The one closes "wins" that round. At first they were way, way off and still are occasionally,but the more we do it better they get a feel for what things cost. You could also ask a child how they could pay for the item as in dollar/coin amounts, like 1 dollar, two quarters, and 4 pennies kinda thing.

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Did anyone else read this thread as "Meth Lab...how do you do this?" It really changes the topic, I think. OOPS! :001_huh::lol:

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Did anyone else read this thread as "Meth Lab...how do you do this?" It really changes the topic, I think. OOPS! :001_huh::lol:

Very funny. :toetap05:

I notice, BTW, that you got on this thread when you thought it was about making a Meth Lab, but you didn't seem to have any interest in Math Lab. What's up with that? Is there something you need to confess to us? :lol:

As for the "how to" question on MAAAAAATH Lab, we engage in purely academic inquiry, here. :lol::lol:

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Very funny. :toetap05:

I notice, BTW, that you got on this thread when you thought it was about making a Meth Lab, but you didn't seem to have any interest in Math Lab. What's up with that? Is there something you need to confess to us? :lol:

As for the "how to" question on MAAAAAATH Lab, we engage in purely academic inquiry, here. :lol::lol:

ROFL:lol::lol::lol: Love the foot taping smiley! Yes...I confess, I was waiting to hear others' opinions of how meth labs are "done." :tongue_smilie:

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There are some good ideas on the Love2Learn2Day blog and on the Natural Math site.

Also, if you are like me and need structured math lesson plans, I would encourage you to get Math Mammoth and/or print some MEP practice book pages and start with those. MM has puzzle corners and MEP has many unconventional activities for young kids.

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I would love to do this. I should really do this. Sigh.

Look at books by Claudia Zaslavsky for inspiration. My son likes Anno's books, and as a kid I adored the Brown Paper School books by Marilyn Burns.

I've also picked up miscellaneous interesting junk that we use constantly. I bought a bunch of random game pieces from some lady; I keep them in a big jam jar and we use them DAILY for counters or game pieces or whatever. I also have a place that sells odds and ends (sort of corporate cast-offs) where I bought these weird red things (also in a jam jar!) that we use too. And I got a pile of wooden cubes in two sizes. I also bought a bag of little plastic hands with fingers (0-5) at a yard sale for 50c that are so Right Startish, but I've lost them. My kids love the linking cubes I bought from Singapore Math, but mostly use them to build things. I am really not strict enough to enforce "school only!" zones. We also have some blocks and such; I've used them to demonstrate subtraction (comparing heights) etc. I like sort of generic items that can be used in different ways. I am not good enough with the specific activities. My house does not look like a school. That's not really a good thing...

Edited by stripe
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I browse through the Miquon Lab Sheet Annotations and "go from there." Our funnest math days are when I pull an idea from that book and we spend a while just "playing around" with the C rods (or other manips).

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I think part of the reason this has worked so well for us is that we really enjoy math and logic. I mean the only exposure my kids were getting to math wasn't during "math lab".

We also read lots of living books about math (like Sir Cumference or the lives of mathematicians) and also enjoy math game books like Family Math or Games for Math.

We also play lots of board games and most have some kind of adding in them.

(Now if someone wants to come help us integrage grammar or writing into our life, we could probably use some help there ;))

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We started home schooling in the third grade. A couple of times a month we have game day - I never thought to call it a lab, what a cool idea. We have been playing with a lot of math related games for years, so I'll list everything I can think of that we have used and then list what is currently in our game box:

Past Items:

Clock w/hands that move independently (learning resources)

counting chips (sorting, counting, beginning addition & subtraction)

peg board with frogs (sorting, grouping, etc.)

geoboard

hundreds chart (used in conjunction with counting chips: race to see who can cover the even number first, who can cover all of the numbers that contain a "5," etc.)

snap it up card game (addition and subtraction)

pattern blocks w/cards to match

hi ho cherry o

trouble (Hasbro game)

bingo (I think you can find free bingo boards somewhere online)

Cuisenaire rods

unifix cubes

dice (several, including a clear one that had another one inside it as well as dice that had multiple facets)

Jr. Monopoly

learning wrap ups

bank from Christian Financial concepts (has three slots: church, savings and spending - this company is now Crown Financial Concepts)

12 inch ruler

rice box with a set of measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons

a set of folder games (search for "math folder games" )

Right now our box has:

a deck of playing cards

Mindware books/games: logic links, noodlers, code breakers, grid perplexors

Equate (board game, extension pack available for algebra)

Muggins math games (play at multiple levels):

opps (pre-algebra, opposites ages 12 to Einstein)

over and under (fraction game, ages 8 to adult)

knock out (ages 6 to adult)

sink the ship (multiplying & dividing fractions (ages 2 to adult)

down and around (fractions, ages 10 to adult)

Sequence (board game)

Monopoly (board game)

I almost forgot - today's new addition to the game box is Patty Paper Geometry and patty paper!

Edited by TechWife
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• 10 months later...

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Great bump! Thanks :)

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