Count and Build

Hello, here is the Math Vitamin for the week.

This week’s vitamin comes directly from the classroom of Ariel Mayer, SMILE teacher at the Capuano. To encourage math in other areas, we designed a learning experience that would integrate counting and building in the block area.  This fun and engaging activity can be modified and extended in numerous ways.

You will need:

  • 2 small labeled boxes: 1 for number cards and 1 for blocks cards.
  • 2 sets of laminated number cards. Start off with numbers 2-5 and then once everyone has cycled through, expand through 9 (differentiate by placing stickers on the back so children can count).
  • Laminated blocks cards (photos of blocks on your block shelf – start with simple shapes).
  • Visual chart with step by step instruction (6 steps or less).

Guided Discovery Lesson in the Block Area:

yellow poster sharing the activity instructions
  1. “Today I am going to teach you a new way to build in the block area.”
  2. “First, I am going to roll out my mat.”
  3. “Next, I am going to choose a number from the number box, see it has a number on it. I got the number 3.”
  4. “Now, I am going to choose a block card from the block card box. I got a rectangle.”
  5. “Now, I get to shop from the block shelf.  The number card tells me how many, and the shape card tells me the block to choose. So, I need 3 rectangle blocks.” Place the block and the cards on the mat.
  6. “Ok. So I am going to do this 2 more times.” All together you pick 3 number cards and 3 block cards.
  7. “Before I build I am going to clean up the cards.” Silently return the cards to the correct box.
  8.  “Let me see what I can build with these blocks.” Model building a structure. Model building a second structure with the same blocks
  9. “I’m done. I am going to put my blocks back on the block shelf.  I will roll up my mat and put it back in the basket.”
decorated tissue box
wood blocks on canvas place mat
child lining wooden blocks in a line
child rolling up canvas mat

With the mats and shopping from the shelf, it is best to start with 2 children. Then include more.

Possible extensions:

  • Have children draw what they built, followed by dictated stories.
  • Add a mystery block ? card, which offers the child the opportunity to pick a block of their choice.
  • Add props such as animals, people and Beautiful Stuff.

Year-Long Trajectory

The Year-Long Trajectory is your scope and sequence for learning experiences across the year.