We worked with money a little in kindergarten math, playing a game with coins and piggy banks during class. The kids had a homework assignment that involved drawing (or cutting and pasting) coins to show different amounts of money. Though I sent home a page of coin pictures, I told the kids that they did not need to cut out the pictures if they didn’t want to. It was fine to draw pictures of coins and use either a number to show the amount (i.e., 5 for a nickel) or a letter (N for a nickel).

Last week in class, we played a game called Target Addition. The game uses a five-row, five-column board where the top row is all 5’s, the next row is all 4’s, then 3’s, 2’s and 1’s. Before beginning play, each pair chosses a target between 25 and 55. Players then take turns placing a marker on one of the numbers on the board. Each time a player places his or her marker, s/he announces the total of the covered numbers. For example if the first player covered a 4, the second a 3, and then the first a 2, the sum would be 4 + 3 + 2 = 9. The first player to reach the target number exactly wins. If a player goes over the target number, s/he is out.

This game is great to strengthen mental math skills. The kids are really good at addition, but working on accuracy and speed is always helpful. Keeping track of the total in Target Addition can be a challenge, but since the board is always in front of you, it’s no problem to start from zero and add up all of the covered numbers, if necessary. The game also encourages the kids to think a few steps ahead. Once you near your target, you need to start thinking about what your opponent will do if you cover a certain number, and how you can avoid setting your opponent up to win.

This week in kindergarten math, we’ll be working on some beginning logic problems using grid puzzles. This is often frustrating for the students as they become familiar with how to use the grids. We will practice in class, so don’t let them tell you that they’ve never seen anything like this before. Keep at it! I’ll only be sending home two puzzles, so it shouldn’t be too time consuming.